Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BOOK: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

2nd Canadian Book Challenge; Book Awards II: Pulitzer 1995; decades: 1990s; 1% well read challenge

And the question arises: what is the story of a life? A chronicle of fact or a skillfully wrought impressison? (p. 340)

And that is what I am left with after reading this book, the 'autobiography' of Daisy Stone Goodwill-Flett. Her life spans the 20th century, born in 1905 in Canada and died 1990s in Florida. There were unusual point of views taken and at times, the reader is left wondering if Daisy is writing her story or not. Each chapter documents an era in her life - Birth, Childhood, Marriage, Love, Work, Sorrow, Ease, Illness and Decline, Death.

It amazed me how much I could learn about Daisy and at the same time, know nothing at all about her thoughts, beliefs and dreams. Perhaps it was more of a biography from the points of view of her family and friends, disconnecting from her emotional self and seeing only their perspectives of Daisy. I loved the section with photographs of the characters and kept referring to them as I read. I liked Daisy's story and the way it was written and I imagine it would make a great book club read, with so much unsaid in the book to discuss.


  1. After reading what I knew was a novel, I found the photographs at the end a little disconcerting.

  2. I really struggled through this book when I read it several years ago. I think I'll have to pick it up again some day. That and Gilead--another book that just didn't do it for me but that others seem to really like.

  3. bybee - I think because they weren't really the people I was fasscinated. Why didi they pick that picture for that character? Who really were these people? Did Shields pick them or an editor? And some were of really minor characters who were barely mentioned.

    trish - I can see why you didn't like it - there was a real disconnect from Daisy, and it would be easy not to care what really happened because you could never felt like you knew the character. I wouldn't try it again if I were you.

  4. I remember liking this book when I read it but it was so long ago that I don't even really remember it anymore! I liked other books by her better and I am still sad that she had to die so early!


Thanks for commenting, so nice of you to visit.

(I'll try without the letters for a while - so please dont be a spammer! Let's try no anonymous users)