Trudy Krishner (review date 27 January 1984)
SOURCE: Krishner, Trudy. “The Goal of a Lifetime Won at Last.” Christian Science Monitor (27 January 1984): 19.
[In the following review, Krishner gives a preview of “… And Ladies of the Club,” noting its fortunate selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and G. P. Putnam's Sons.]
For Helen Santmyer, success has come somewhat later than it does in most careers. Miss Santmyer, an 88-year-old retired librarian, is being hailed as the literary equivalent of Grandma Moses.
Her novel about small-town life, which she began in the 1920s and finally finished as a nursing home resident in the 1980s, has been published by a university press and is about to be republished in large, lucrative editions by the Book-of-the-Month Club and G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Suddenly Helen Hooven Santmyer is a literary celebrity. Reporters and photographers invade her nursing home accommodations in this quiet southwestern Ohio town. And, as the headlines indicate, the story is of triumph—the goal of a lifetime finally achieved.
Miss Santmyer's 1,344-page novel, “… And Ladies of the Club,” spans the years 1868-1932 in the small fictional Ohio town of Waynesboro. It follows a group of women across the generations.
Work on it absorbed Miss Santmyer's attention year after year, decade after decade. In the '20s she conceived of the book as a kind of answer to Sinclair Lewis, the tart-tongued novelist who, she felt, had gotten life in small-town America...
(The entire section is 645 words.)