So, of course I had to start my Pulitzer Challenge off with the first winner of the prize: Ernest Poole’s His Family which won in 1918.
The book is about Roger Gale, a widower living in New York City, and his three daughters and the extended family that he makes through them. Before she died, Roger’s wife tells him that “he will live on in his childrens’ lives” (a theme that is repeated an almost annoying number of times throughout the novel).
Each of his three daughters represent something different: Edith, the oldest, has five children and is only concerned with her immediate family. Deborah, the middle daughter, is all about an extended family of tenement dwellers and immigrants, and works on reforming living conditions and education. The youngest daughter, Laura, is concerned with a glamorous and modern way of life.
The book is definitely not action packed of eventful, but it lives up to its title in that you feel like you are peeking through at Roger’s family and his way of life over the course of a few years.
Even though it wasn’t particularly exciting, I enjoyed it. It’s a laid back, mellow sort of read and I enjoyed most of the characters. I say most of the characters, because there came a point where I wanted to strangle Edith for being so near-sighted, but other than that most everyone else was likable.Though she’s every bit as passionate as her sister (though in opposite ways), I found Deborah’s focus to be much more enjoyable to read about, and it offered an interesting glimpse into city life at that time.
As far as any other complaints go, I felt like the ending drug out much longer than it should have. The last line of the novel sums it up nicely, but in my opinion it could have been said and finished about ten pages earlier.
Overall, I liked it and would recommend it, though I can’t say that I enjoyed it enough to read again.
I read this on my Kindle — His Family ebook is free on Amazon.
TL;DR — Mellow. ***½