The Member of the Wedding

The Member of the Wedding

by Carson McCullers


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The novel that became an award-winning play and a major motion picture and that has charmed generations of readers, Carson McCullers’s classic The Member of the Wedding is now available in small- format trade paperback for the first time. Here is the story of the inimitable twelve-year-old Frankie, who is utterly, hopelessly bored with life until she hears about her older brother’s wedding. Bolstered by lively conversations with her house servant, Berenice, and her six-year-old male cousin — not to mention her own unbridled imagination — Frankie takes on an overly active role in the wedding, hoping even to go, uninvited, on the honeymoon, so deep is her desire to be the member of something larger, more accepting than herself. “A marvelous study of the agony of adolescence” (Detroit Free Press), The Member of the Wedding showcases Carson McCullers at her most sensitive, astute, and lasting best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618492398
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/28/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 142,113
Product dimensions: 4.87(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Carson McCullers (1917-1967) was the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding, Reflections in a Golden Eye, and Clock Without Hands. Born in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19, 1917, she became a promising pianist and enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York when she was seventeen, but lacking money for tuition, she never attended classes. Instead she studied writing at Columbia University, which ultimately led to The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, the novel that made her an overnight literary sensation. On September 29, 1967, at age fifty, she died in Nyack, New York, where she is buried.

Date of Birth:

February 19, 1917

Date of Death:

November 29, 1967

Place of Birth:

Columbus, Georgia

Place of Death:

Nyack, New York


Columbia University and New York University, 1935

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The Member of the Wedding 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How many 24-year-olds could write a novel like this today? Having read 'February House,' an account of the year 1940 in which McCullers moved into a house in Brooklyn with W. H. Auden, Paul and Jane Bowles, Gypsy Rose Lee and other famous artists of the time, my book club decided to read everything that had been written in the house during that year. Carson's work was perhaps the most astonishing. Nervous as she was about following up on the great success of her debut novel, 'The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,' she dived right into this very different story of a young girl coming of age in Georgia and yearning to meld her own identity with that of her grown brother and his fiancee as they married. Her novel was influenced by the poet Auden's lectures on literature every night, by the stories she overheard her housemates telling, and by her own desire to surpass the unexpected triumph of her first novel. McCullers is a true treasure of American literary history, neglected until recently. Even if this book isn't your favorite of all she wrote, it's certainly worth reading, not only as a work of art but as an example of a young writer challenging herself to the limit of her abilities. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great coming of age story centered around a tomboy named Frankie Addams. In her attempts to find her place in the adult world, Frankie searches for ways to grow up, changing her childish name to F. Jasmine and then Frances. The entire novel takes place within two days in August, and Frankie feels acutley aware of this turning part in her life- saying she can divide her existence into three parts: the past, the immediate present, and the future with her brother and his bride- when she is a member of the wedding. She hungers so desperately to become a member of the wedding because she is experiencing a sense of being alone and disconnected from others. She is at a turning point in her life, and will mature greatly by the end of the novel. This story takes on lofty themes including invisible divisions between people, that affect both Frankie and her caretaker Bernice, an African American over 40 year old woman who envisions a world without race. This novel is a good read for those who can look past the simple events and plot to uncover the substantive thematic implications of Frankie's story. Set in the 1940's, Carson McCuller's story The Member of the Wedding is still relevant today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What else is there to say? A young teenage girl going through a time in her life where she questions her very own existance to why she is there. Death wasn't even an answer. One thing was for sure, John Henry will no longer be there for Frankie.
Molinarolo More than 1 year ago
When I read Carson McCullers my minds eye is actually watching a Tennessee William's play. "It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was a summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid." Frances (Frankie) Addams is at the age where she is moving from childhood to adolescence. At 12 and 5/6s she has grown too tall, has chopped off her hair, and has been kicked from the safety of her papa's bed to hers in her own hot room. Her best friend has moved to Florida. With no friends other than the Addams' cook, Berenice, and her six year- old cousin, John Henry for company, Frankie has become mean and bored as well as frightened. She wants desperately to leave her life and town behind. Her solution: her brother's upcoming nuptials. She will become a member of the wedding and leave with Jarvis and Janice on their honeymoon, never returning thinking: "they are the we of me." Frankie even changes her name to F. Jasmine Addams to further her thought of "we." Much as her over-working imagination, Frankie dissolves into her grand plan. Berenice warns her that "three is a crowd" but Frankie ignores the gentle warning. She wanders through town making "connections" with the people to whom she tells her great plan. But as with all best laid plans, Frankie is crushed when the bride and groom don't take her with them. She comes home never speaking of the wedding and runs away taking only a suitcase and her papa's pistol. She ends up at the Blue Moon Cafe where she had a frightening past encounter with a soldier who in a drunken stupor mistakenly assumes Frankie is much older than she is. The sheriff finds her and brings her home. Home three months after the wedding is no longer the comfort as it was for Frankie. Changes, not all positive, await Frances Addams. McCullers disjointed prose captures Frankie's fragmented imagination to her own reality well. Though sensitive, McCullers' novel is dark with some adult themes. Maybe it had to be this way but I do not think an astute reader will think this is her best work nor should be considered a Young Adult novel.
joelle_marie More than 1 year ago
This book is about a girl named Franie. One day Frankie finds out that her brother is getting married. Her brother, Jarvis, is in service. He is stationed in Alaska. Frankie has always wanted to go to Alaska. She gets an idea that when she goes to the wedding she is going to go on the honeymoon with her brother and his wife. Frankie does not like where she lives because she is always bored and lonely. Her only friends are her maid, Berenice, and her coursin, John Henry. Shes tall and feels like shes a freak. All Frankie does is stay in the kitchen with John Henry and Berenice. She then decides that she wants her name to be Jasmine because her brother and his fiance's names both begin with j's. So her new name is F. Jasmine. The day before the wedding she goes out into town and looking for people to tell her plan of leaving to. She then meets a soldier and they go out for drinks. He then asks her on another date. She goes to see Big Mama and asks for her fortune which is that she will attend a wedding, that there will be a journey, and that there will be a return. On their second date the soldier buys her drinks and then asks her if she'll go ot his hotel room. She goes and he trys to kiss her but instead she bites his tounge and hits him in the head with a pitcher. She then wonders if she killed him but she decideds to leave. F. Jasmine changes her name to Frances. The day of the wedding her brother and his wife leave without her. Big Mama's fortune was right. She goes home and then trys to run away. Frances got caught by the police and she got picked up by her dad. She meets a new friend named Mary Littlejohn and they both have the dream dream, traveling the world. John Henry died of meningitis after having it for ten days. Frances recieves a letter from her brother saying that he is in Luxembourg.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a great book illustrating the awkwardness and weirdness associated from the transition from childhood to adolescent. Even though the character Frankie is a strange character, I feel I can relate to her. I think you'll most enjoy this book if you look below the surface of things. I loved the subtle symbolism/foreshadowings in it. A very interesting book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book at school and i think that this is a reallygood book but then again i feel bsd for her that frankie or F.jasmine what ever you wanna call her was really young to make a big desion and on top if that she said kill herself if her brother didn't take her this is a crazy book but it was really good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frankie Addams is a young, confused twelve-year-old adolescent living in the American south in 1944. The book is framed around her main frustration with feeling like she belongs to no group, that she is disconnected with the world around her. She is highly precocious and stubborn, but also naïve and unaware of the reasons for her own emotions. She spends the main action of the book, which begins on the last Friday in August and ends two days later, obsessed with her brother Jarvis's wedding on Sunday to Janice Evans. Eventually, Frankie has changes her name to F. Jasmine in an attempt to both sound more grown up and to have a name which begins in J A, just like Janice and Jarvis. She tours the town telling people of her plans to run away with the newly-weds the following evening. She expects everyone to notice the sudden change in her and that she has shed her childhood persona. However, her father takes no notice and treats her as the same little girl. The wedding turns out to be a bust for Frankie. She pleads to run off with Janice and Jarvis, entirely in vain. Rejected and depressed, she returns home with her hopes dashed. In the next three months, much changes for Frankie. She finds a new friend, Mary Littlejohn, and she and her father get ready to move. There are two major components in this, the major theme of the novel. The first is the concept of division between people. McCullers writes that "This was the summer when for a long time [Frankie] had not been a member." This signals to us that Frankie's attempt to find unity with other people serves as the main conflict of the novel. The second element to the theme has to do with life's universal rules. As Frankie attempts to grow up and seek membership into the adult world, she discovers that certain life rules encumber her. The most important rule has to do with the fact that married couples only include two people, shutting Frankie out of her dream of becoming a threesome with Janice and Jarvis. Berenice also helps Frankie to understand with greater empathy what a struggle it is for minorities to deal with the division between the races. I like how McCullers split the book up into “parts” and explained everything in complete detail. I don’t like how McCullers went back and forth from day 1 to day 3 throughout the book. Other recommended works: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frankie Jasmine Addams was a 12 year old girl with a very boring life. Every day in the summer she would sit at the kitchen table with her housekeeper Bernice and her 6 year old cousin John Henry. Desperate for a change in her life, Frankie looks forward to her brother's wedding. She plans to run away with them but by the time the wedding actually comes, it goes by too fast and she forgets what she had planned. Frankie becomes depressed and almost attempts suicide, but when the police find her she is brought home to her father. The ending of the book I find very depressing, as John Henry dies painfully from meningitis and nothing different happens in Frankie's life. In my opinion this book dragged on and on because of all the detail and imagery. For people who like imagining stories in high detail, this book is for you. I would recommend this book for club discussions because there are some confusing parts and a lot of symbolism throughout the novel. Overall, i really did not like this book at all and the ending left me confused and unhappy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally thought the book was very boring. It had nothing in it that would interest me. I think you should have put a boy in it or something. The author should have not described every little thing. You described the kitchen in the beginning of the book, and the author wrote a whole part of the book on just the kitchen. That's all!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a very good book for both genders of my age. Since the girl in this book is going though what all of us have or are going to you really fell like you know the girl, and you know how she feels. I reccomend this book for all ages especially children 11-13. Happy Reading!!!
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An absolutely lovely performance by narrator, Susan Sarandon! What a heartrending, beautifully written story of adolescent angst! Meet Frances Jasmine Adams, aka Frankie, aka F. Jasmine (pronounced Jasmeen) Adams, depending on her mood at the moment. Accompany this 12 year old girl on the excruciating emotional journey from childhood to the cusp of adulthood, and lose your heart to her and her cousin, John Henry, and the family cook, Berniece. Her brother's wedding is the occasion, her desire to be a member of anything rather than continue "unjoined" is her state of being, and her yearning motivates her dreams, wishes and near tragic bad choices. I felt like I was walking beside her through the entire story. Great literature!
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Frankie provides our eyes and ears for A Member of the Wedding and what a view she gives us readers! Frankie is poised on the edge of childhood and adulthood, that awful spot we now call adolescence, but she is not sitting quietly on the edge; she is teetering back and forth between the worlds and it is not a happy place to be. She has lost her connections to her world. There are only two who try to call her back into the world: Berenice, the housekeeper, and her cousin, John Henry. As Frankie questions the world, Berenice is the voice of the grownup world, trying to ease Frankie into the new world. At the same time, John Henry is the voice of Frankie's childhood, urging her to play, to experience the world, to forget the world of thinking. Frankie's one hope becomes her desire to escape and join her brother and his new wife after their wedding. Of course, this does not happen and Frankie goes back to her world, but she is not the same person she once was. What a rich, marvelous book! I could read it all over again and I think I would love it just as much. Frankie's encounter with the soldier...the monkey and the monkey owner...the Freaks....the noises and the pictures the author draws of this world...a rich, rich story.
mthelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Only 163 pages, but oh! so powerful.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Twelve-year-old Frankie is fed up with her small town life where the only things that change are for the worse. Then one day, her brother announces he is getting married and the next two weeks take Frankie on a whirlwind as she becomes obsessed with the wedding and the new life she could have if her brother and his wife would only take her with them. This coming of age story was beautifully written. I was drawn into McCuller's world, smelling the smells and feeling the heat. Even though this is such a short book, it was a slow, leisurely read. I found myself stopping and savouring the scenes before I could start to read again. This book leaves me with a wistful, melancholy feeling. This is my second McCuller's book and I rather enjoy her not-so-happy endings. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
However with out of country exotic weddings the whole family friends and in laws are on the honeymoon my son went to a friends wedding at lake como in italy and had a wonderful time but could not afford to stay at the resort hotel but at a bed and breakfast near by. Seeing many living together for years before the more the merrier is a reunion
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