Thursday, August 24, 2023

Summer Read Along - The Wind in the Willows
- Chapters 11 & 12 and Final Thoughts

Well once again I am late with this week's post and I apologize. I've been up to my elbows in tomatoes and peppers, canning salsa, rotel tomatoes, and a couple of varieties of jam. I still have a bit more to do, but once I've processed all of the tomatoes, things should slow down a bit. I think next year as I am considering a slow summer, I need to  think more towards June and early July. But once the garden begins to come in and especially in August, things begin to pick up considerably. Thankfully I was able to squeeze in reading the final two chapters of The Wind in the Willows, and to share my final thoughts.

Sadly, I didn't have a favorite passage from either of the final two chapters. Though I enjoyed reading them and coming to the end of the story, so much of the focus was upon Toad, that it lacked the charm that previous chapters dedicated to Mole, Ratty and Badger conveyed, which were much more domestic in nature. 

Toad, and the chapters dedicated to him, were my least favorite of the book. Perhaps it has something to do with my life-long abhorence of frogs and toads, but try as I might, I believe I would have much preferred the story altoghter if Toad had been left out. I found his immaturity, arrogance and selfishness quite off putting. Even though it appears in the end he may have begun to reform, the pessimist in me is still doubtful it will last.

I did find it admirable that for all the trouble he caused, that his friends were so ready and willing to rally round and help him to reclaim his house and that they invested so much time and care to see him turn a new leaf. Their patience with him far exceeded my own. I was ready to kick him out of the story early on.

In spite of Toad's antics, overall I loved the book and I'm already looking forward to read The Willows In Winter at the turn of the year.  Grahame's intricate depictions of the animals homelife and the meals they shared together were quite delightful and I would have been pleased if every chapter had featured them. I shared in a previous post that I often felt as though I was reading two different stories, as the chapters devoted to Toad's troubles seemed like a different story line altogether. But I suppose every good story needs a villian, though I'm not sure that title fully suits Toad. He did prove to be a source of contention for his friends (and me!). Perhaps Grahame was fond of the contrast between the peaceful home life along the river bank and Toad's outrageous adventures. He might have felt it dull to write only of the day to day lives of Mole and Ratty, but I personally would have been content to hear of nothing more!

Overall I thought it was an excellent book, and I think children would especially enjoy it, perhaps even being a bit more amused by Toad that I was! I've truly enjoyed sharing this book with those of you who have joined in. It's been fun to hear other's thoughts and perspectives.  I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the final two chapters and on the book as a whole, so feel free to share in the comments! 

And now I'm off to tend to my own domestic duties! My goal is to have all of my deep seasonal cleaning done this week, and then next week I'll tackle my craft room/office, and our front porch needs some tidying after a summer's worth of projects.  Then towards the middle of next week I'll bring out my autumn decorations just in time for the dawn of September which is a week from tomorrow.  We'll have one last cook out Labor Day weekend to tuck summer away, but after that autumn will arrive at our house! 

I'll be back soon to share about all the seasonal happenings, which are many this time of year! I look forward to visiting with you then!


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