Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson: A Novel

When I first picked up to read “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually, that’s wrong. I had high hopes for the book. I really love historical novels and the only thing that I doubted about Emily Dickinsons story told by Jerome Charyn only in the aspect that, like some historical fictions, it would drag on. Was I ever wrong!

Before reading “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson” I hadn’t known much about Emily, one of the greatest poetry prodigies. To one who only has studied the basics of her life, they might wonder, how could she have came up with such fire filled, poignant, and deep poems, when she spent years upon years of her life, staying in her Fathers home. By reading “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson” you become indulged an entirely different point of view of her life, the experiences that she may very likely experienced, that our English teachers probably skipped over. Jerome Charyn did a wonderful job tell Emily’s story in a delightful, interesting way, letting you into Emily’s life and feeling her pain and happiness. From the people she loved, her many heartbreaks, her sweet dog, her moon blindness that she overcame, people that flitted in and out of her life, and others that haunted her for years, many will be surprised and delighted to take a deeper look at what gave her the “lighting” to write such amazing poems, that are still read and admired today.

I was given a copy of this book for receive from Tribute books, I was not compensated in any other way for my review.  This book was reviewed for me by my daughter over at Garden of Books.



  1. Thanks Lauri for the great review. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the book. You make so many great points. It really is amazing to wonder how Emily created the depth of feeling in her poetry with such limited life experience - especially in the days before the internet, TV, radio, etc. Jerome does such a great job writing about her "secret life."

    Thanks for hosting a stop on the blog tour. For all those who'd like to follow along, please hop on over to: http://thesecretlifeofemilydickinson.blogspot.com/

  2. Speaking of lightning, you've captured some of the electricity in this novel right here in your review. We welcome you over to the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson.


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