Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review

I have recently discovered a hidden treasure in my neighborhood: the county library! It's only a few minutes from my house, and it's full of books! And DVD's! That you don't have to pay for!

I have always been an avid reader, but just have not had the spare time to spend on reading. I devour books whenever I go away on a trip or vacation, as it's a sweet treat for me to spend time reading.

The local library is new to my neighborhood. And while mom could still read, it was a great way to get her some of her favorite books, anything by James Patterson. She is no longer able to read books, as she forget what she's reading and it's very difficult to sound out the words. So now, I take her there to check out the DVD's. And found myself perusing through the aisles and aisles of books.

The other day I came across a book just kind of laying on a shelf, certainly out of place. It caught my attention with its cover, titled "One Thousand White Women, The Journals of May Dodd". After reading the reviews on the back cover, I immediately knew I had to read it. I love reading about the old American West.

The author's note states this book is entirely a work of fiction. But the idea for the book was inspired by an actual historical event: in 1854 at a peace conference at Fort Laramie, a prominent Northern Cheyenne chief requested of the US Army authorities the gift of one thousand white women as brides for his young warriors. A terrifying new world was being forced on the Native Americans in 1854, and they clearly recognized this world held no place for them. They believed that the children born out of these marriages would be the perfect means of assimilation into the white man's world.

Of course in reality, the Cheyenne's request was not well received by the authorities, the peace conference collapsed, the Cheyennes went home and the white women did not come. But in this novel they do.

The author, Jim Fergus, brings to life an American West like I've never read before. His portrayal of the women, their conversations, their emotions, are so realistic, so true to how women think, speak, feel. And again, this was written as if it was 1854. I could feel their joy, sorrow & heartbreak when they did. I loved how the Native American characters were portrayed, and felt such shame, as though I had a part in it, as they experienced the betrayal of the white man. He actually traveled extensively in the northern Great Plains and really got to know the country he was writing about. He felt a tremendous responsibility to be as accurate as possible when it came to first learning about the cultures and histories of the Northern Cheyennes and Apaches, and then writing this into his story.

I did not want to put this book down once I started reading it. And at the end, I was sad it was finished. It touched my heart in so many ways. I went back to the author's note after I was finished, just to be sure I had read that this was a work of fiction. I felt it surely must be a true story!

If you have some time to spare and like to read, I highly recommend this book. It's actually a book I would like to have on my own bookshelf. Go check it out at your local library!