Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Dorothy Thomas


The Getaway
and Other Stories
Copyright © 2002
by Dorothy Thomas
U of NE P

Despite the rustic charm of their settings, the bitingly humorous short stories of Dorothy Thomas (1898-1990) challenge stereotypes of good-hearted country people-a harried woman tries to rid herself of her impertinent son as he refuses to cooperate with her plans to leave him and his father for another man; an old woman given a late second chance to marry the man she loves loses out once more because of her literal mindedness; a child's fib grows into a detailed fiction leading one family to embarrassment and another to stretch beyond their means; and two little girls with childish ingenuity foil their step-mother's opportunity for a romantic fling when their father is away.
In these twelve stories Thomas is most concerned with the flaws in familial relationships, but her analysis never turns bitter. Thomas used what she called "telling detail" to animate her characters as they repeatedly trump their family's needs with their own desires, and children are often the most prescient of all about the self-destructive plans of the adults around them. — from the jacket

Thomas's 12 stories themselves are elegantly composed ... and make an earnest attempt to capture everyday life in Depression-era heartland. — Kirkus Reviews

The Home Place
Copyright © 1966
by Dorothy Thomas
U of NE P

As a writer of the short, pungent tale, Miss Thomas can have but few superiors. Her work is firm and disciplined. She makes the richest possible use of such details of midwest agrarian life as she chooses so economically. — Saturday Review of Literature

A realist of no mean order, as Ma Jeeter's Girls showed, [Miss Thomas's] work has humor, warmth, a kind of homely solidity. — New York Times Book Review

Miss Thomas tells the story with keen insight and sympathetic understanding, supplementing her picture with an authentic background and an eye for detail which vivify the whole narrative. — Christian Science Monitor

It is only when the story is finished that the reader realizes he has actually been living for a year in a very small house with an extremely large and united family — and that his understanding has been greatly enriched by the experience. — Boston Transcript

Ma Jeeter's Girls
Copyright © 1986
by Dorothy Thomas
U of NE P

Ma Jeeter, a sensible and hearty farm woman, tells the stories of the courtships of five daughters to the schoolteacher who boards with her. Ella, Bell, Lena, Laura, and Lizzie all got bitten and burdened early, thanks to the bumblebee of love. Now her youngest, Evie, is coming home to be married, and everything is as it should be. The Jeeters are based loosely on a funny, goodhearted family that Dorothy Thomas lived with in her schoolteaching days. HL Mencken, the famed editor, author, and critic, encouraged her to write these vignettes about them. Original pen and ink drawings by the author have been added to this edition. — from the jacket

Full of pawky observation and robustious humor. The central character, Ma Jeeter of the Nebraska wheat country, stands out brilliantly in the round, and there is quite as much reality in her six unfortunate daughters, all of whom save one get to the altar only a lap or two ahead of the midwife. — American Mercury

Miss Thomas's Ma Jeeter is a never failing delight [in] her gusto, humor, and native good sense. — New Republic

Miss Thomas tells her story with charming humor and real understanding. ... Ma Jeeter and each one of the girls become lovable and live, in her vivid phrases, without any appearance of exaggeration. — New York Times

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