The Road to Understanding
- The Road to Understanding (1917) is a novel by Eleanor H. Porter. The first few line of the book starts: "If Burke Denby had not been given all the frosted cakes and toy shotguns he wanted at the age of ten, it might not have been so difficult to convince him at the age of twenty that he did not want to marry Helen Barnet." Later Porter relates: "Of course the inevitable happened. However near two roads may be at the start, if they diverge ever so slightly and keep straight ahead, there is bound to be in time all the world between them. In the case of Burke and Helen, their roads never started together at all: they merely crossed; and at the crossing came the wedding. They were miles apart at the start — miles apart in tastes, traditions, and environment. In one respect only were they alike: undisciplined self-indulgence — a likeness that meant only added differences when it came to the crossing; and that made it all the more nearly impossible to merge those two diverging roads into one wide way leading straight on to wedded happiness." This all sounds complicated. This complicated situation is conveyed to us by the couple and some of their friends. However, more complications arise when a daughter is caught in the middle - a clever and wonderful girl who has to endure a sad and bitter life: live with her abnormal mother and be employed by her father, without knowing it's him. Her parents know what's best for her, but does Betty know what's best for herself? Will Betty be able to forgive her parents?