ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton-Porter

Updated on February 23, 2016

First, a Little Background

I read both "A Girl of the Limberlost" and "Freckles" in, I believe, 1980, when my mom and I brought them with us on vacation. She read "A Girl of the Limberlost" first and she let me have the book so that I could I read it once she had finished it. Meanwhile, she started on "Freckles." This was so many years ago that I forgot that we read the books in the wrong order. As a result, I read them in this wrong order on this reread, which was more than slightly confusing at first.

The Review

"A Girl of the Limberlost" is a story of many different kinds of love -- parental, friendship, and romantic. I think it would also make a very nice cure for anyone who insists that there was such a thing as a "golden age."

Stratton-Porter wrote "A Girl of the Limberlost" in 1909. As you know, this was a simpler time, when people were honest and there was no crime. People didn't have to lock their doors, because they trusted each other.

And if you believe that one . . . .

Okay, I will admit that so far as I can tell, the protagonist's door doesn't have a lock. This means that obviously it is a nice, safe area, particularly since it's out in the country. Except, her mom sleeps with a loaded pistol under her pillow (for good reason, as we find out). Personally, I'd rather have locks on my doors.

"A Girl of the Limberlost" is the story of Elnora Comstock. Elnora lives in the countryside of Indiana, in a swamp known as the Limberlost. Elnora has plans. She wants to go to high school, and then, maybe, on to college.

So, in her dowdy, ill-fitting clothes and her clompy shoes, she heads off to her first day of high school. When she gets there, she discovers that since she lives out in the countryside and not in town, she will have to pay for both her books and her actual schooling. This causes problems, since her family doesn't have much in the way of money.

She won't take the money that her friends and nearest neighbors, Margaret and Wesley Sinton offer, but finds a benefactor in the Bird Woman. The Bird Woman (who has been understood to be a surrogate for Stratton-Porter herself) has contacts who are looking for specimens of moths and butterflies. As it happens, Elnora has been collecting moths and butterflies. The Bird Woman buys her current collection, which pays for her schooling and books, plus some extra, and agrees to buy more in the future.

Meanwhile, the Sintons have supplied her with new clothes and shoes. Elnora, knowing that her mother won't approve of them giving her these things, buys them from the Sintons at what we find out (but Elnora never does) was a fraction of their actual cost.

The Sintons also provide Elnora with a lunchbox and fill it with amazing food. On her way to school, she is accosted by a waif, Billy, whose father is habitually too drunk to be any actual use. She feels bad for him, so she shares her lunch with him.

The next day, she gives her entire lunch away when Billy turns up with his brother and sister in tow. In the process of all of this lunch sharing, she makes several good friends among her classmates.

And that's just her first week of school.

One of the largest sources of conflict in Elnora's life is her mother, Kate, a bitter widow who has never gotten over the death of Elnora's father. Not until the second half of the book does Kate realize how much time she has wasted and what an opportunity she almost lost in the way she raised her daughter.

The second half of the book is a romance novel. Elnora meets a young man named Phillip Ammon, who is just as moth-crazy as she is. Unfortunately, Phillip is already engaged and hopelessly besotted with his fiancée, with whom he has nothing in common.

Freckles and the Swamp Angel from "Freckles" make a return appearance towards the end of the book, as well.

One of the saddest things about this book is that the Limberlost is gone now -- lost underneath the cornfields. However, there is a project to restore the Limberlost. More than 1,000 acres have been restored so far. Hopefully my children or grandchildren will be able to experience the Limberlost, even if I am never able to.

Overall, "A Girl of the Limberlost" is a wonderful book, and it is easy to see why it is one of the classics of children's literature.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Olivia-O profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you so much! I am very pleased you enjoyed it!

    • DrRebeccaSanders profile image

      Dr. Rebecca Sanders 

      5 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for the memories! My mother read this book to me as a young child. I can still hear her words as I drifted off to sleep in my memory. I remember I loved the story, too - but I couldn't tell you what it was about. Gene Stratton Porter was a wonderful Hoosier author! Thank you for keeping them alive!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)