Posted by: istop4books | May 14, 2010

This Proud Heart by Pearl S. Buck

I absolutely Loved this book with a capital L. It’s the story of Susan, an up and coming sculptor in the 1930s, who struggles with her love of art, her love of family – children, parents, sister and husband, and her need to be herself. As I read it, I could imagine the setting, in the 30s and how tremendously difficult it would be for a girl to do anything other than teach or nurse or be a secretary, or marry and have children. Pearl Buck delivers with this book, especially in the ending which brings the whole thing full term.

At some point in the middle of the book, I had to read Pearl Buck’s biography on wikipedia because I had a suspicion that the entire book was somewhat autobiographical, an allegory for her own life. I found out that David Barnes, the name of the sculptor in the book who mentors Susan Gaylord, was the pen name with which she submitted her master’s thesis at Cornell. At that time, Pearl Buck afraid that if she submitted her thesis as a woman, it would automatically be graded down?

The sculpting seemed to pinch hit for writing, being lost in the marble and just feeling it, seemed so similar to getting lost in the writing. I couldn’t find any definitive interview or study on the author and this book in particular, but I did find someone else who thought as I did.

So many of the themes in the book will still resonate with woman 70 years later. It is still hard to juggle family, passion, responsibilities; it’s hard to fit in, to figure out when to have children during our careers – all themes which she explores brilliantly in the book.

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Responses

  1. I’ll have to read this since I adore Pearl S Buck and have read (and own!) many of her novels such as Imperial Woman, Pavilion of Women, Kinfolk, The Mother, and of course The Good Earth.


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