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I first read this book when I was in my early twenties. I started out not liking Hagar at all because I thought her so difficult and ungrateful for what people did for her. But as I read on, getting to know Hagar, I grew to understand and to like her more. Over the years, the person of Hagar, with her pride and, because of that pride, her loneliness, stayed with me. Whenever I met an old person who seemed difficult and unreasonable, I would often think of Hagar, and wonder what that person's life had been like. Now I'm 72 and have just reread the book. I'd pretty well forgotten the story, but remembered Hagar's feistiness and I was able to empathise with her much more quickly. I don't remember noticing before how often people are infuriatingly condescending to her, and my appreciation of her sharp responses. This is a book that I think should be read twice, or maybe many times, as one grows older and gets a different perspective on life. If I'm still around at 90, perhaps I'll read it again and see how it affects me then.
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence was a pretty boring book, especially because I didn’t like the main character (Hagar Shipley). Hagar Shipley is the main character, however, I found her quite rude and almost annoying throughout the majority of the novel. For example, Hagar was extremely bitter and judgmental towards Doris (her daughter-in-law). She would constantly mock her, question her outfit choices, and judge her sense of style. Worst of all, she would never say thank you. I admired Doris very much because she was always there to help her husband’s mother and put up with her complaining, even when it was not necessarily her job. Hagar never appreciated the things Doris would do for her, and for that reason in particular, I really started to dislike Hagar - and the novel in general. Overall, I would not recommend this novel to anyone because I found it extremely slow and long. Rating 2/5 @Montgomery of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
Stone angel is a novel written by the Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence. Laurence writes as a 94 year old women whose name is Hagar Shipley. Hagar is physically not well but refuses help because of her pride. She lived till the end of her life, refusing the help of others as she wanted to maintain her dignity. This novel teaches the readers one lesson, that humans need to live till the end of their lives with some sense of personal value. I highly recommend this book if you want to experience the pride that every human beings have, and what we go through to maintain our dignity.
- @mockingbird of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
I started this book wondering if it's going anywhere. At first it seemed dull, with no real plot. But I was wrong. It's a slow build up to not much, but it pulls you in. I don't think anyone under the age of 40, will relate much. This is a good book. I'll read it again when I'm 60
One of Laurence's least depressing books but it still left me wondering "what was the point of all this?" Hagar, unlike most of Laurence's lead characters, at least makes a valiant effort to escape her self-imposed life of tedium. But in the end, she falls victim to her own personality limitations. The story and the characters are believable and seem true to life but that, without a transformative (or at least liberating) moment left me wondering why the author devoted so much admittedly good writing to such a trivial story.
I understand that this book has at times appeared on the secondary school reading list, I suppose as a good example of "Can-Lit". Mercifully, it wasn't on my list at school or I might have enjoyed Grade 11 English Lit somewhat less than I did. I gather it even got a few uptight parents upset because Hagar actually (horrors!) has an illicit sexual relationship. Without reading that book those kids would never hear of such goings-on.
Oh well, at least Laurence succeeded in getting someone worked up, so I guess it was worthwhile ...
A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "Indulge in the sarcastic wit of Hagar Shipley, as she recalls her loves and life throughout her 90 years. Follow up with the movie from this library. A Canadian author."
Heartbreaking and beautiful, the story of Hagar Shipley is among my favourites.
If the perspective had been from a male point of view, ah, how much easier it would be for people to get! It seems because she is old and female, it isn't right that she is one tough old bird. It's not my favourite work by Laurence, but it works at so many levels. Hell, it's just a great story. If you are forced to read it for school, deal with it! Don't worry about whether you like it or not. And remember, one day you'll be old too. Maybe then the book will haunt you. Meantime, it is a novel I will always treasure.
I loved cranky old Hagar. Margaret Laurence is one of my favorite authors, her characters are so real.
Story is told from Hagar's perspective when she is 90 years of age and is reflecting back on situations of her growing up with two older brothers a single Scottish father in Manakawa, Manitoba at the turn of the century. She tells of her childhood and relationship with her family and friends. Later, to the storms of her marriage to Brampton Shipley and her raisings of her sons, Marvin and John. While dealing with the death of her mother, brother, father, son and husband. All the while, she is determined not to go into a nursing home and runaway to old fishing village to avoid Marvin and Doris's decision for her future care. She meets some intriguing characters in a hospital in her adventures, before it all comes to an end.