Sinclair Ross's As for Me and My House (first published in 1941 but achieved its fame after a re-issue in 1954) was first released to very little fanfare and received very few reviews (partly due to its availability and partly due to its subject matter and structure). Despite that, many consider Ross' book to be a bona fide classic with a tremendous amount of literary importance. One reviewer called As for Me and My House "a beautifully moody novel about weather and a terrible marriage." Other reviewers, however, said the book was "physically painful to read."
Set in the town of Horizon during The Great Depression, As for Me and My House follows the life and experiences of a minister's wife (called Mrs. Bentley). Told in the form of a diary, the book chronicles Mrs. Bentley's isolation, the trouble in her rather tumultuous relationship with her husband, and her life in the country - and later he struggles to move to the city. At the end of the day, though, Ross' book is about the ever-changing nature of relationships, the bonds between people, and the intensity that is possible between two people - even if one of them is a minister.
Ross's use of the diary structure to tell the story of Mrs. Bentley is quite effective and allows for a very profound exploration of the inner workings of her mind. As readers, we get a vivid picture of the struggle between her and her husband, her feelings toward her life in Horizon, and her growing desire to move away to the city. The book also speaks to Mrs. Bentley's fear and anxiety of the unknown and her inability to communicate her true feelings to her husband. As she struggles to find her true identity and her place in the world, she reveals the beauty of her inner strength and resilience.
The book is also quite effective in its portrayal of the effects of the Great Depression on the people of Horizon. In the face of economic hardship, Ross paints a haunting portrait of despair, loneliness, and the intense struggle for survival. We witness how the people of Horizon, including Mrs. Bentley and her husband, must grapple with the harsh realities of a failing economy and the devastating effects it has on their lives.
Ultimately, As for Me and My House is a compelling work of literature that delves into the complexities of relationships, the effects of poverty, and the strength of the human spirit. Ross' unique approach to storytelling and his ability to capture the inner thoughts of his characters are both impressive and captivating. Despite the lack of attention, it received upon its initial release, As for Me and My House has become a classic of literature, and one that is sure to be cherished for generations to come.