I have an embarrassing confession to make: Until I picked up this collection, I hadn’t read the oft-assigned “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” What, you ask? How did you get an English degree without having read this most ubiquitous of short stories? A simple, two parted answer: I pretended to have read it, and I’d confused it with “Good Country People,” which also appears in this collection. For clarification: the former is about “The Misfit,” who shoots up a family with a know-it-all grandmother, and the latter is about a Bible salesman who steals the artificial leg of the (grand?)daughter of another know-it-all woman. I figured the Misfit of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” was the Bible salesman in “Good Country People.” The stories do have a lot in common. I feel a little less bad about not having read it since the two stories are, at least, somewhat similar.
Anyway. Flannery O’Connor likes proving uppity old women wrong. They’re everywhere, at least in this collection. I’ve also read Everything that Rises Must Converge (which is fantastic) and a novel, Wise Blood (which is also fantastic). I’ve written entries about both for this blog, and I’m annoyed with myself that I didn’t talk about any of the stories in that first collection. Not one.
So there are “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People.” I was assigned both in college, and they’re both good. “The River” is also fantastic, about a traveling preacher’s effect on a young boy. And “The Displaced Person,” about a community’s treatment of a Polish immigrant and his family. “A Circle in the Fire” is another favorite, about a troop of boys who show up on a farm and cause trouble. They’re all good. I blazed through this collection, not wanting to put it down. Oh so good.
I’d compare it to Everything that Rises Must Converge, but it’s been a while, and I didn’t say hardly anything about it in my “review.” Meh.
I arrived late to the O’Connor game, but she’s quickly become one of my favorite authors. Until fairly recently, I generally shied away from southern lit, but I’ve changed my mind about it for the most part, mostly due to O’Connor and Faulkner. So. Great collection. Amazing collection. Totally worth reading.