Published by Penguin on April 1, 1995
Genres: General Fiction
The Stone Diaries is one ordinary woman's story of her journey through life. Born in 1905, Daisy Stone Goodwill drifts through the roles of child, wife, widow, and mother, and finally into her old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her place in her own life, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography. Her life is vivid with incident, and yet she feels a sense of powerlessness. She listens, she observes, and through sheer force of imagination she becomes a witness of her own life: her birth, her death, and the troubling misconnections she discovers between. Daisy's struggle to find a place for herself in her own life is a paradigm of the unsettled decades of our era. A witty and compassionate anatomist of the human heart, Carol Shields has made distinctively her own that place where the domestic collides with the elemental. With irony and humor she weaves the strands of The Stone Diaries together in this, her richest and most poignant novel to date.
The first half of the novel or Daisy as a child and young adult is interesting and a good read, learning about her parent-less childhood with a co-guardian who has sexual feelings for 11-year-old Daisy Goodwill and eventually marries her 20 some years later, but also reading about her brief marriage to her first husband who unfortunately falls out a window while on their honeymoon. it’s all a quick read.
Unfortunately, as Daisy age and health starts to decline so does the book; she becomes too in-tuned with herself making the novel have a touchy feely vibe while rediscovering herself and begins to write a Q&A gardening column in the local paper and was reminiscent of “Dear Abby”, it all started to feel like a self-help book. Luckily this was only a small part of the book and could quickly be skimmed.
Overall, this was a fun read and despite that small complaint I can defiantly see why this won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.