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81 Reviews
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hogwash!
Though I'm not Canadian, I too feel great shame for those Canadians who dislike Margaret Laurence and have no apparent literary taste. However, I find this book to be absolutely stupendous and absorbing. I have read it 4 times, and it only seems to get better with each read. I am not just saying this.
Never has there been a more realistic and likeable character...
Published on April 19 2002 by Gladys Laurence (no relation t...

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Margaret Laurence's Worst Book
As a fan of Margaret Laurence's Manawaka series (including her masterpiece, "The Diviners"), I was looking forward to reading "The Stone Angel." Sadly, it was a disappointing, unsatisfying experience. "The Stone Angel" is about Hagar Shipley, a ninety-year-old woman looking back on her life. As could be expected of an elderly woman, her...
Published on April 7 2002 by Nicole


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hogwash!, April 19 2002
Though I'm not Canadian, I too feel great shame for those Canadians who dislike Margaret Laurence and have no apparent literary taste. However, I find this book to be absolutely stupendous and absorbing. I have read it 4 times, and it only seems to get better with each read. I am not just saying this.
Never has there been a more realistic and likeable character than Mrs. Hagar Shipley, someone everyone should be more like. Her unabashed honesty is truly heartwarming. If this is not a feel-good story, then I simply don't know what is!! This is the feel-good book of the year.... This is no overstatement.
Yes. It is sad that people die. But if people did so with as much dignity as Hagar, the world would be a better place. And, no, I am not just saying that, again.
Why hasn't this fine novel---this vanguard story--been adapted into movie form? I see the unflappable Glenn Close playing Hagar--with courage and grace. She's divine.
Those who did not like the book likely did not understand its messages. Uninformed readers are the worst.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful Story of One Woman's Life, April 29 2002
By 
The Stone Angel is a book that I felt compelled to read--it is one of the most prestigious titles in the CanLit canon. Unlike many of the "great works of literature" I've read lately, this one didn't disappoint.
The Stone Angel is the story of Hagar Shipley's life, told in her own voice. Hagar is a ninety year old woman living with her son and daughter-in-law. She is rampant with memory. Her struggles for independence are interspliced with vivid recollections of her past.
The narrative voice of The Stone Angel is astounding. Laurence is a master of the simile and provides the reader with beautiful descriptions on nearly every page. At the same time, the narration, from Hagar's lips, constantly provides insight into Hagar and the people that surround her. At times, Laurence is able to tell you more about characters by their grammar than many writers are able to tell you in entire novels. Laurence has a particularly keen sense of diction. Her dialogue reveals mountains of insight about generations gaps, economic divides, and the walls that pride builds.
Overall, this is technically one of the best books I've ever read, and one of the most pleasing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!, Jan. 15 2004
By 
Ana Tirolese (London, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
The first time I read The Stone Angel was in high school as part of the reading curriculum. Despite my English teacher's best efforts to ruin the book for us, I managed to enjoy it. I was surprised that a book with adult content (mild) had survived the censor's cut, but I was pleased it did.

A year ago I decided to reread the book and found it was even better than I my memory served me. Now that I have some life experience under my belt, I discovered the book to be far more moving and poignant. Margaret Lawrence brings out a true to life character in Hagar, the book's protagonist. Hagar could be your mother, your aunt, or your grandmother.

This is a beautiful, touching, compelling, and powerful book. Hagar's struggle with her own painful life memories as she tries to protect her independence and maintain her pride is quite heartrending. I found myself glued to page after page in this story.

The Stone Angel is the first book of the five-volume Manawaka series. Each book in the series stands alone quite well and is enjoyable on its own. I don't believe Lawrence had intended a series when she first wrote The Stone Angel, however, the books were there to be written, and write them she did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My comments..., May 21 2002
By A Customer
Hello!
In one of the reviews I read, it said something like "we should all be like Hagar Shipley"...well I disagree, 'cause Mrs.Shipley was indeed, without a doubt a sweet, loving woman however she was always set on what other people thought...I believe it doesn't matter what other people think (live a little) life is too short to concentrate on pleasing others so why not please yourself?
And she favored John over Marvin...when John became a drunk(much like his father) and Marvin became a descent man!!! (what kind of mother favors a child more than the others?) I know that not everyone is perfect...and that's what makes this book sooo realistic! The author brings out the good in each character but doesn't forget to include their flaws!
Anyway...this book was amazing...it was sooo realistic...
I'm speechless, I really am!!! I definetly DO NOT regret reading this book...
I commend the author of this novel...Margaret Laurence, because of this book I'm going to find other books by Margaret Laurence!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Margaret Laurence's Worst Book, April 7 2002
By 
As a fan of Margaret Laurence's Manawaka series (including her masterpiece, "The Diviners"), I was looking forward to reading "The Stone Angel." Sadly, it was a disappointing, unsatisfying experience. "The Stone Angel" is about Hagar Shipley, a ninety-year-old woman looking back on her life. As could be expected of an elderly woman, her present life isn't exciting, but unfortunately for the reader, her entire past is also a long, dull journey. The only interesting part of Hagar's life, her childhood, is summed up in a few pages.
Hagar complains constantly throughout the novel. She is not an endearing grandma type, nor is she a wise old woman. Hagar is probably a realistic example of a typical elderly woman, but who wants to spend hours listening to the ramblings of a bitter old lady? Not me. However, Hagar's personal qualities aren't what ruins this novel. If a nasty character offers keen observation or leads an interesting life, a book can still succeed. But Hagar's lack of wit and insight and her boring life make "The Stone Angel" an utter failure. This novel is as dull and dry as a prairie town in the summer (no offense to the good folks out west), and I do not recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I found this to be a totally engrossing, believable tale, Feb. 23 2001
As you can probably tell by some of the other reviews, this book will NOT be for everyone. If you're looking for a quick escape, lots of action or a strong romance, this is not the book you want. However, if you enjoy books that aren't your usual fare and are strong on psychological tension, this is an excellent choice. I absolutely loved this story of an elderly woman, a rather judgmental, cantankerous person. I like novels that show how a person grows and changes and I find slow change to be most believable and true to life, as it is in this book. Many readers may have found Hagar Shipley's life to be rather mundane, even dull. But I didn't - her marriage to a man she eventually saw as inferior and coarse, her relationship with her children, her desire to make a proper home and better herself - were all quite realistic to me. As she becomes increasingly frail and dependent on her son and daughter-in-law, she also comes to see her life in a different way. I won't reveal more but I do urge you to read this one and stick with it. Odds are, you'll want to read more by the gifted author, Margaret Laurence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Stone Angel, Sept. 30 2000
By 
"andrew2020" (Calgary, AB CAN) - See all my reviews
I just finish The Stone Angel, and I think that this book is very good. It touches universal themes of life. It focuses on the problem that everyone encounter or can related to. For exmaple, Hagar cherished one of her son more than the other, eventhough the son that she abandants is the one that actually care about her. And in the age of 90 she still can not see the irony of this. I guess we can't appreciate things until they are lost.
The Stone Angel also touches on the issue of understanding our parents. When Hagar was younger she rebeliuosly marry Bram, even though her father disapprove of it. She did not understand why then, why would her father prevent her from finding her happiness. But years later when her own son, John, want to marry a young girl that Hagar disapprove of. Only then she understand the worries of her father.
And for those who think a male high school student, or High school students in general cannot understand this book, you are so wrong in so many way.
I recommend this bood for all that want to seek answers or comfort in the journey of life.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The Stone Angel, April 20 2000
By A Customer
I found this book to be very depressing and I wish I hadn't read it. I heard about the book when I was taking a continuing education class on Canadian literature, but it wasn't part of our assigned reading. Since the teacher recommended the book so highly, I picked up a copy in a used book store when I saw it there some years later. So unlike some of the other reviewers, I did not have to read the novel for any class. Laurence uses the Proustian device of interweaving past and present reality, which makes the tale more interesting. The main character, Hagar Shipley, is 90 years old when the book opens, and she reflects back on her girlhood and marriage in a small town in Canada. It seems that someone dies on every page during the first few pages of the book. The story picks up later, but there is still enough tragedy and misery to sustain the downbeat mood. I can't say that the book was boring, because Laurence was able to maintain the tempo throughout without having the story drag. The author was not yet 40 when the book was published, so it's pretty remarkable how she was able to get inside the head of the old woman. If you're seeking a cheery, lighthearted tale, look elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, April 9 2003
This review is from: The Stone Angel (Mass Market Paperback)
I was made to read this book in high school as well, having said that, I loved it. Still do. In fact it inspired me to read more of Laurence's work. I have read EVERY Margaret Laurence book I could get my hands on. I was inspired to read all of her books because of the brilliant character developement she showed in the creation of Hagar. I mean I have never had such strong feelings about a fictional character in my life... Sometimes I was filled with sadness and pity, sometimes I laughed out loud, and sometimes, I just wanted to shake some sense into her! (None of Laurence's other characters brought out so much emotion in me.) In my mind that is what makes a book worth reading. I've made other people read this book too. They have all enjoyed it.
Perhaps if you are looking for something "fluffy" or light to read you would be disapointed and maybe it is hard for a teenager to enjoy a book about a 90 year old... but I loved it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life can be depressing, too., Aug. 29 2001
By 
I want to respond to all those who object to this novel because it is 'depressing.' While it is true that The Stone Angel is not a light-hearted, comic-book romp through the life of Hagar Shipley, it is an accurate portrayal of a dissatisfied woman at the end of her life, wrestling with phantoms of the past and realities of the present. Laurence's brilliant use of the unreliable narrator, as well as her effective manipulation of time and place, make this novel resonate with me. If the novel is upsetting, it's not Margaret Laurence's fault, after all. She gives a justified portrayal of a woman's life, and if we get upset because of it, at least her work has accomplished some form of communication. If you don't want to get upset by literature (being upset triggers active thought about how you relate to the novel!), then I suggest a lifetime subscription to O! magazine.
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The Stone Angel
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (Mass Market Paperback - Oct. 1 1988)
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