"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

A True Classic

First published in 1939.
Winner of The National Book Award in 1940.

Richard Llewellyn (1906-1983)

I read How Green Was My Valley way back in high school more than twenty-five years ago and I remembered it fondly, if vaguely. I found it on the bargain shelf at a local bookseller and I picked it up on a whim. Sometimes, when you re-read a book from your childhood it is much worse than you remember because tastes mature. In this case, I found How Green Was My Valley to be even better than I remembered.

The book is set in Wales and features a family of Welsh coal miners and is told through the point of view of Huw Morgan, the youngest member of the family. Llewellyn captures small town life and Welsh customs and makes the reader feel the rhythm of their lives. These are turbulent times in Wales - the wages for coal miners are dropping because there are fewer jobs to be had and more men than ever to fill them. Their world is changing and families are breaking up to move to America and other places that have more opportunities.

But, the book is not just a story of economic woe. It is the story of a boy standing up to bullies, of boys becoming men, of the difficulty of living life and showing Christian forgiveness, first love, forbidden love, the dangers of denying true love and, most of all, it is a story that emphasizes the importance of family.

If you have seen the 1941 movie (as I recently have), the book is far superior to the movie.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: How Green Was My Valley

Reviewed on May 19, 2012

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