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The Story of an Extraordinary Woman
am 25. November 2013
The Signature of All Things is mainly set in the 19th century. Its numerous settings include places in Europe, North America and French Polynesia. Even though I have never visited most of the book’s settings, I was able to visualize all of them and Ms. Gilbert’s descriptions are great because when I googled one of the settings, it looked exactly like I imagined it.
The main character, Alma Whittaker, grows up to be a reasonable, intelligent, extremely well-read and well-taught woman. It is remarkable to see the world through her eyes. Alma grows up in a wealthy household and still lives a life so different to other wealthy young women. I felt how uncomfortable she felt in regard to having friends and doing things that didn’t fulfil any purpose. I also relaxed when Alma relaxed, sitting at the table, being surrounded by scholars and scientists. The secondary characters in The Signature of All Things are beautifully crafted. Each has their own story to tell and would be interesting enough to write a novel about.
The book’s plot spans Alma’s, plus a quick version of her father’s life. It is very detailed. You will learn much about botany (but I guess you figured that by reading the synopsis) but there are also long conversations about spirituality. Even though I really liked the overall story, The Signature of All Things has many passages that felt drawn-out. It was as if everything written had to stay in the book. My reading pace was an interplay of quick and slow. Nevertheless, I think you should read this book if you like the synopsis. The Signature of All Things might be drawn-out at times, but it is also absorbing, surprising, adventurous and different.