The Book of Ruth, by Jane Hamilton

The Book of RuthWhat stood out to me about The Book of Ruth is the protagonist’s distinct, down-to earth voice. Ruth is introspective and reflects on how gender affects her daily life in the country. The novel captures many feelings and thoughts that I found to be empathetic and relatable to anyone: childhood crushes, adjusting to high school, and questioning the meaning of individuality.

I enjoyed how there were several representations of women and feminism in the book, and how they related to each other. I could see a parallel between Ruth versus Daisy, for example, in their independence and actions. In some ways, the two friends foil each other: Daisy is outgoing and enjoys wearing bright, somewhat revealing clothing, while Ruth is reserved and modest, for instance. However, the two support each other despite their differences, as well as others. The women that Ruth meets are mentors and teachers, whom she learns from during her childhood to adulthood.

I consider the format of the novel could be thought of a kind of everyday epic, because of the span of time the story takes on, through school days, graduation, weddings, and motherhood.

Although the novel is adapted from Ruth from the Bible, I found that the novel is its own entity. While reading the novel, I felt that the story itself was original and could stand on its own. In other words, even without the context of what the novel is based on, the novel is still enjoyable.

I found the novel to be bittersweet: As Ruth gets older, her wants and hopes for life are the same, but life ends up bringing something unexpected.

Availability: COSMOS
Review submitted by: Julia Thompson
Rating: Highly Recommended

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