The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

Author: Jerome Charyn

Goodreads synopsis: “What if the old maid of Amherst wasn’t an old maid at all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his “wild sister.” Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems. The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems.”


Review: I got this book at a library sale — $5 for a bag of books and honestly that’s the only good thing I can say about this story. This just wasn’t for me. There were multiple times I thought about not finishing it but for some reason (I’m still trying to understand) I kept reading. It didn’t get better, maybe it was because the story was somewhat based on the poems written by Miss. Dickinson or maybe it was the lack of a story line that I could really follow or appreciate that made this so hard for me to read. I thought this would be a fun read, something different — while it was different, I found it too boring for my eyes.

Overall rating: 1/5 stars

3 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

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