In Barbara Cormyn’s novel, Sophia Fairclough tells her brief life story in a straightforward confessional style that will touch anyone who knows what it’s like to be on the threshold of adulthood.
With little family experience of her own, Sophia is eager to leap into marriage with a young artist, though it means holding down a job in order to give her husband his creative freedom. But Sophia’s resourceful nature has its limits. She finds herself forced to borrow money from relatives and friends. The results are mounting debt and a hand-to-mouth existence that grows more complicated with the onset of motherhood.
As the reader can always anticipate what’s coming, the book contains few surprises. It is the narrator’s naïve yet persistent hopefulness that tugs at our hearts and pulls us through a relentless series of crises, sorrows, betrayals, and disappointments.
Published in 1950, Our Spoons Came from Woolworths manages to express conflicting emotions, the sordidness of poverty, and the calamities it can bring to marriage, all without resorting to the vulgar language so pervasive in modern fiction. Budding novelists can learn a lot about the nobility of judicious prose from this simple tale.