Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: Mary Barton

Title: Mary Barton
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
First Published: 1848 anonymously
rating: 3/5

Summery: Mary Barton is a young Manchester working girl. Her father, the only family she has in the world, except for her mysterious Aunt Easter, is a factory union man. She has two men who are courting her. One is rich and fair. The other poor. She must decided which she truly loves when disaster strikes.

This is Gaskell's first novel so I must say that it is not as good as some of her other works Like North & South(read my review of that book here). I did enjoy it very much though. One thing that I had trouble with was how very difficult to get into, it can seem very boring in the beginning.

Probably the only thing I didn't like was how very much romantic dreamy it seemed to me at times. I felt it was a little sappy at some points. It was just a seemed a little fake to me at some points.

One thing that struck me was how sharply contrasted the upper class was with the lower class. How sharply Gaskell seemed to criticize the upper class. This is the one thing I like about Gaskell, how she spoke out against the mistreatment of the lower class. I really enjoyed seeing this, and how Gaskell said, without saying so, that something needed to change. I posted earlier the preface to the book here. I would highly recommend reading it(click here). It changed my view of Gaskell's books. I saw them as more. than good stories, which there is no doubt that they are, they are an out cry against society.

One thing is that Gaskell seems to favor the lower class more that the upper class. In North & South she seems to portray the two classes more equally. I wonder if this is some growth towards seeing both sides of a story. Which is something important to me.

As a side note I completely feel in love with this particular copy of the book. It felt so lovely, and the colors so soft! :)



  1. Is that the cover that you have? I agree, it is lovely.
    Great to hear your thoughts on this book.

  2. Sadly I don't own the book. :( This is the cover of the one I got from the library.