Parents' Guide to

My Antonia

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Writing shines in pioneer saga of friendship and struggle.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Though it's not an easy read for teen, adults often report that they appreciate this book more when they revisit it later in life. The great curmudgeon H.L. Mencken famously remarked, "No romantic novel ever written in America, by man or woman, is one half so beautiful as 'My Antonia,'" and there are plenty who agree with him. Many young readers, however, particularly those reading the book under duress as a school assignment, may not have attained the perspective to appreciate some of its finer points, from the complexity of its characters and their circumstances to the quality of the writing, which is far more rich and dense than today's typical fare. Those who persevere, however, will find much to reward them, and much that's surprisingly resonant with today's experiences. Parents may want to consider which aspects of the book might be most interesting to their own kids and use that as an entry point for discussion, should their kid be having trouble with the book in school.

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