What to Read: The Yearling

Hubby and I were flipping through channels Sunday night, and we landed on “The Yearling,” the 1946 film adaptation of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ 1938 novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I never had to read “The Yearling” for class, being the world’s worst-read English major. As I recall, I picked it up once or twice in the school library, but was put off by the long descriptions of nature, the dialect the characters speak, and the fact that I already had a pretty good idea of how it would end (spoiler alert: it’s kind of a downer!).

I was drawn into the film, though, thanks to a funny scene in which the matriarch (played by Jane Wyman) tells a rambling story about wanting to get a dog when she was a child, but deciding against it because “a hound’ll suck eggs.” In a surprisingly sarcastic response, her husband (played by Gregory Peck) snarks: “Well, now, that’s a mighty exciting tale. You got any more like that one?” It was so unexpectedly irreverent, based on what I thought I knew about the story, that I thought perhaps I should read the book: maybe it too would surprise and delight, rather than just depressing the heck out of me. What do you think? Have you read “The Yearling,” and if so, do you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!