This book feels like it wants to be an epic, but is too short to pull it off. Dec 03, Kyle rated it liked it. While I recognize that this is a well written book, I simply did not find the story to be compelling.
She knows how to write well. The thing is, I feel that I have read this story a dozen times already. Its conventional approach to explorin While I recognize that this is a well written book, I simply did not find the story to be compelling. How many times has a similar story to this one been offered up to the public, and how many times will it be told using these same characters and situations?
I question the relevance of this novel. If Spalding had experimented a bit with structure or style, maybe I would have enjoyed this book more. But it is a typical, beginning-middle-end, point A to point B, approach to storytelling, and it tells a story that we are all familiar with by now. There is nothing remarkable about this book.
But it is good, nonetheless. My other qualm with this book is that it won the GG in , and there is zero Canadian content in this novel. That is two years in a row now that the winner of the GG has been almost completely devoid of a Canadian identity. It kind of baffles me as to why this book took away the award this year.
Mar 10, Eric rated it did not like it Shelves: I was hoping to enjoy this prize winning novel. Why the quick marriage to the young wife not of his faith?
Why did he lie down on the ground and just stay there until dark? The questions go on and on. There were so many foolish things left unexplained in this book that I could not enj I was hoping to enjoy this prize winning novel. There were so many foolish things left unexplained in this book that I could not enjoy it. The main character being Quaker also filled the book full of foolish religious notions of the time most of which continue today and this took more away from my enjoyment of the novel.
The plight of the slaves and their search for freedom was only one of many different directions the book took. Overall a big thumbs down. Jan 30, Ellie rated it it was amazing Shelves: REally hoping that Linda Spalding gives us a sequel.. You will want to shake and hug characters by times. The purchase is everything that a wonderful, time-enduring book should be. Sep 14, Penny Bedborough rated it it was amazing. I just finished this journey. I received this free through GoodReads giveaways.
I hate to think that I may not have come acroos it without this site. Its funny how the things we need most always find us, thats how I feel about this book, I was meant to read this book. This story was enlightening in many ways. I can say with all honesty that this will be a book that I will come back to over the years. There are so many lessons in this story it would be wrong to speak of only one. I recommend this I just finished this journey. I recommend this book to anyone that is open to seeing life for what it is The best we can hope for is to hope we learn what we need to before it is too late.
Mar 02, Jen rated it liked it. I can see why there were conflicting reviews for this novel. There could have been much more character development - great potential to do so. Overall, I would rate it as a 3. Jan 20, Vincent Lam rated it it was amazing. The command of the vernacular in the American South is truly fluid, convincing, and wonderful! This book is a fictionalized account of the actual life of a Quaker shunned from Brandywine, Pennsylvania in around , who then moves to the lawless, slavery dominated frontier of the western tip of Virginia near the Cumblerand Gap.
He is originally shunned for marrying a year-old orphan, who had been a servant in his home, after his wife dies just after giving birth to their fifth child. The Quakers had prohibitions against underage marriage as well as exploitation of servants.
Most ma This book is a fictionalized account of the actual life of a Quaker shunned from Brandywine, Pennsylvania in around , who then moves to the lawless, slavery dominated frontier of the western tip of Virginia near the Cumblerand Gap.
Most marriages of colonial era Quakers were between men and women in their mids. Later in Virginia, he breaks even more Quaker principles, including prohibitions against slave ownership, and the story traces what happens to him and his family as a result. The book is written in very spare, almost arid language, that evokes a particular Quaker style. Words describing or conveying emotion are not used much, and not at all by any of the characters none of them says "I was angry," or "I am so happy", for example.
Despite their significant role in the founding of the U. They get overshadowed by the Southern slavery and the New England Puritanism. Women of Colonial Philadelphia" by Karin Wulf do a great job of bringing this history to light. It is true that paternity was not provable, but calling the children your "orphans" seems a bit of a stretch and even to reflect a latent aggression.
This is particularly inapposite to Quaker views of men having personal responsibility for their children. It appears to be a form of dissociation passed down from father to son, likely because of that absence of nurturing from the father, and it reflects a lack of emotional availability, which creates men who have a stated, often pompous, fealty to these principles but who have difficulty understanding their meaning or processing how to apply them in practical situations.
It makes him a "bad dad" as well, placing all the pressure on Ruth Boyd to tend his children the Quakers considered it the responsibility of both parents to meet the needs of children. Also, many Quaker women took economic responsibility for themselves; this was not always easy to do, given the laws of coverture and other prohibitions.
In marrying a teenager, who in addition to her immaturity had not been raised with the Quaker psychological support required to do this, he left himself without an equal partner. Ruth eventually does make a good contribution to the family income, but nothing like what would be accomplished by a Betsy Ross-style Quaker. It is likely he was this way his entire life, and his first wife, Rebecca Grube, may have been this way as well.
The central message of the book seems to me to be that even a very humanistic type of religion like the Society of Friends is inadequate to support human development and ethical conduct and to protect human rights.
The Friends regarded both men and women, and people of all races, to have the same fundamental rights and responsibilities, and their meeting style of worship which had no preacher was designed to allow individuals space for expression, contemplation, and individual action in contrast to requiring conformity to one true means, such as the Catholic Church requires, or establishing privilege in one sex, again as the Catholic Church requires, or one race, as some other religions do.
These values show up in the U. Constitution, including in its being drafted around rights of Person, not rights of Man, as other contemporaneous Enlightenment Era documents, such as the French Constitution did.
Her authentic personal speech is characteristic of one of the best qualities of the Quakers, which was how they allowed women space to be their own people, even if sometimes in this arid thinking, but not feeling, style.
For this reason, many of the leading women of United States history, from Susan B. The unfortunate irony and distortion is that they needed the Quaker religion to develop this, as the political economy remained almost entirely dominated by men for many years, and, even today, we have Supreme Court Justices such as Scalia who try to redefine the word "Person" he says it means only heterosexual adult male, male fetus or corporation or association.
Because the Quakers were a minority of the population, particularly after large influxes of immigrants with other belief systems, including not just other Protestant belief systems, but those of Catholicism, Judaism, Eastern religions, Islam, warrior cultures, slaveholding cultures, etc. They have also been at odds with some legal systems in United States history, such as sanction of slavery and the laws of coverture a marriage law that "the two shall be one and that one shall be the man"; the coverture laws have been repealed but we still have vestiges of the coverture system in place.
I am one of the other descendants of this man, along with the author, through the boy John Carter Dickinson, who is born to Daniel and Ruth Boyd, so I know a bit of the subsequent story if it is interesting to readers. John Carter Dickinson later moved to Kansas during Bleeding Kansas days; his grandson, William Boyd Dickinson, in about married a woman who became the first woman elected to a Board of Education in the state of Missouri.
Board of Education was pending. Another nexus of this family with U. Not all Quakers may have been as emotionally impoverished and hypocritical in behavior as Daniel Dickinson or Richard Nixon, but certainly the religion seems not to have recognized or supported individual emotional experience in the way it needed to in order to make its values more readily accomplished in the practical world. Also, as the book illustrates, laws of slavery and of coverture that other cultures and populations imported to the United States made this even more challenging.
Nonetheless the Quaker belief system was innovative for its day, a huge advance on other Enlightenment Era philosophies. Mar 30, Melissa Dean rated it liked it. At first I really enjoyed the book.
As the book progressed I found myself getting mad. Getting mad at the characters in the book and feeling helpless for other characters. This book brought about a lot of different feelings but for the most part I was angry. I was angry that our world was like that at one point in time. I was angry that people still treat people in the same manner from time to time. I was angry At first I really enjoyed the book.
I was angry that people stood by and let it happen. But oh I was grateful. I was grateful for the ones that did something. The ones that were just as angry by the things I found revolting. The writing was well done. Nov 14, Steven Buechler rated it it was amazing. It took a bit of energy to read this book but getting through it was worth the effort. It is a great mix of conflict and grace, with a touch of a history lesson to boot.
He had thought of leaving Mulberry behind, for her right front let seemed to bother her a little more each day since the long wagon-pulling trip. He had no one to mention such worries to now. Unlike h It took a bit of energy to read this book but getting through it was worth the effort.
Unlike his daughter, he no longer had a friend to whom he could write, sine he had kept a girl in his house after the death of his wife and, worse, had quicly married her, and she a Methodist.
Everyone had turned against him and if Daniel had need to converse now, he spoke to his mares in slow, thoughtful sentences. At midday, he stopped to eat his bread and speak his further concerns to Miss Patch, who, like his dear wife Rebecca, listened but never judged.
This mare might glance at him or twitch an ear, as if aware of the self-interest in his debate, but unlike Mulberry, who had no real breeding, Miss Patch was a fine chestnut out of a famous sire and thoroughly compassionate. She had consoled Daniel on may occasions, and now she moved at a pace to kepp the man as well as the doleful Mulberry placid. Aug 03, Annie rated it really liked it. I loved reading this book.
Seduced by the intriguing topic and the delicately poetic prose, I drank in the story in just a couple of hours. But although I was happily led to see a horse, a rock, a tree in poetic terms, I was not transported to the pioneering days of Virginia and I was strangely indifferent to most of the characters - most notably to the protagonist, Daniel, whose potentially riveting dilemma is handled rather clinically.
With reg I loved reading this book. With regard to style, the book deserves a 5-star rating. The quality writing is, hands down, the winning aspect here - the aspect which most makes this a worthwhile read. The minimalist approach to character development, however, falls short of developing an inner life for the personages who should matter. The result is an emotionally flat reading experience. Nevertheless, very recommendable as a better-than-average read. Jan 04, Carrie rated it it was ok.
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