Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: A Book Review


How do you rate your books on Goodreads?

When I joined Goodreads in 2013, I had no conception of what criteria I should have based on rating the books I read. I just rated based on my satisfaction. But the longer I use this site, the more I come to the ideas that there are two bases how I rate a book. First, I rate the books objectively based on the writing styles although I have no background in literary studies. Second, I rate the books subjectively based on their impacts upon me.

Giving it 1 star does not mean that this Edith Wharton’s novel is inferior, nor did she make hash out of it. Not that. In fact, I was impressed by her neat writing skills as well as how she used the literary device flashback in creating this novel. She began the story under the auspices of a man narrating at the present situation, observing a crippled man, Ethan Frome, he finds mysterious. Then, the preceding chapters tell the historical background of the characters. The final chapter will make readers realize that the ‘smash-up” referred to in the first chapters has something to do with the middle parts. Reading it was like a retrograde step. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Therefore, objectively speaking, I would give it 4 stars. Hahaha However ,it just so happened that I abandoned myself to its story. I did not like it.

Why didn’t I like it? I found the story IMMATURE, ANNOYING, and LAUGHABLE .


Obviously, the love story between Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver is illicit passion. In other words, the act is no longer morally appropriate, for Ethan Frome is married and Mattie Silver is his wife’s cousin. Besides, Ethan appears to be childish. He does not act his age . On the other hand, Mattie is fucking coquettishly demure. So their dialogues drove me crazy.


Edith Wharton may have intended to write such plots with some “bologna” settings. Would you care about the broken plate and how they will repair it with glue ? Their insistence on buying glue added to the fuel more. Grrr! Also, Would you not get upset about Ethan’s sentiment in how nostalgic he is for Mattie?


The romantic dialogues between Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver make my toes curl. In addition, both decide against committing suicide by hitting the elm tree on sled. (In fact, this scene is now classic. ) Eventually, both will be miserably crippled. The ridiculous part is that Ethan Frome’s wife Zeena will be the one to take care of them.

It’s not that I am trying to be the immoralist. As a matter of fact, I consider myself an amoral Babbit. Hahaha

Now I have understood why it is said to be Edith Wharton’s most revealing novel. There is a method in her madness, but I’d rather go sledding.  ^^

Rating: 1/ 5 stars ( I didn’t like it. )



  1. What a funny review! Typically I rate most books I read between 3 (okay) and 5 (excellent). Only on occasion have I given a book a 1 or 2 rating. At this point in my life I generally ditch books that seem like they are heading to a rating that low.

    Liked by 1 person

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