The Stone Diaries is the story of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a rather ordinary woman, whose life was surrounded by loss and grief in every aspect. As she goes through her life's various stages, she struggles to find her purpose.
It starts with the narration about the circumstances surrounding her parents: how they grew up, how they met, and how she was conceived. She is born in 1905, and her mother dies in childbirth. As every chapter progresses, we see further developments in Daisy's life. She becomes a toddler, she then is raised by her father after a brief absence, she goes to school, gets married, becomes a widow and gets married again, runs a successful newspaper column, falls into depression, and finally, she ages and dies. The book covers about 90 years of personal history, all revolving around Daisy Goodwill Flett, but provides a glimpse of the lives of all her relatives.
Fortunately, the book is accompanied by a genealogy tree. Thus, it was easy to follow along when characters would suddenly appear, due to the fact that the chapters are separated by years, and time does not progress in a linear fashion in this book. One chapter would be following a chapter located 10 years before, for example. Hence, characters appear in medias res, so to speak.
Given the structure of the narrative, I don't think I have anything great to say. How should I say it, I am ambivalent with this book. I don't like it, but I don't hate it either. "Okay" might be the most accurate rating, and here's why.
First, I fail to see an active plot in this book. What makes the book move forward? Is there some sort of conflict that the book is trying to explore? I don't see any. As far as I can tell, the book is simply following the life of Daisy, who is in no way extraordinary. For all we know, the author chose Daisy randomly. In other words, I fail to see why this book is interesting.