Friday, June 20, 2014

Read - These Is My Words

These Is My Words
by Nancy E. Turner
2008
416 pages

'A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon—from child to determined young adult to loving mother—she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her, and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.

Rich in authentic everyday details and alive with truly unforgettable characters, These Is My Words brilliantly brings a vanished world to breathtaking life again.
'

Having just suffered major disappoint in similar type of book (diary type, 1800s, wild west), I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one.  It says in the description that this is inspired by family memoirs.  It says in the fine print in all the legal stuff at the front of the book that it's historical fiction.  I thought for the longest time this was true, that these were the actual diaries of Sarah Agnes Prine.  I guess not.  In some ways it's sad that Sarah isn't real.  I guess that shows how well this is written, if we want to believe she was real.

I really enjoyed this book!  I skimmed some reviews and saw people complaining about how it was written, about grammar and spelling and such.  It always cracks me up when people can't seem to tell that something is supposed to be written that way, as opposed to just bad writing.  Since this is a diary, sometimes the entries are short and choppy.  You're not always going to get the full picture of what's going on, or grand descriptions of everything.  I loved that things kept a quick pace this way, and often left you wanting more.  My problem with the previous book I had read was that, considering it was also supposed to be a diary, it was written more as a full narrative fictional novel.  There were conversations and descriptions in that other book that would just never be in someone's diary.

Anyway, I loved the blunt honesty in this, the harsh realities of traveling and living in the wild west.  Very early in the book, while traveling by in dangerous territories, a little boy dies from a rattlesnake bite.  The family can do nothing for him out there in the wilderness but hold him while he dies and then quickly bury him and move on.  How heartbreaking to have to leave your child in an unmarked grave out in the middle of nowhere???  We watch Sarah's family and others struggle to survive, and continue to follow her through several ups and downs over the next twenty years.  It's funny to watch her not recognize flirting, courting, and love right in front of her face.  It's refreshing to see her admitting dark thoughts and opinions even while she's trying to learn to become more proper and lady-like.

There were a few things here and there that I thought were a bit too over the top, or convenient, and it was easy to realize in those places that this was indeed a work of fiction.  There was one oddly convenient death that had me rolling my eyes even though I was glad it opened the door for the next events.  There were repeated 'chance' encounters that had me rolling my eyes again in a 'Really? Really,' kind of way.  But those feelings were always short lived because the story just keeps moving and you're sucked right back into it.

This was a great book and I truly think being written in diary form is what makes it so strong.  I can see myself reading this again somewhere down the road.

10 comments:

  1. I really want to read this! I kept hearing about it, but no one I knew had actually read it yet, so thank you for being the guinea pig :D

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    1. I hope you do read it, and I hope you come back and leave a comment about it. I kept thinking 'This would make a good movie or mini series!'

      ~Deb

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  2. I loved this book, Deb! It's actually one of my favorites. Were you aware there are two sequels? Sarah's Quilt and The Star Garden.

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    1. No! That makes sense now though. One of the things I was looking at said something like 'Sarah Prine #1.' I'll need to look for these other two. Have you read them? Did you like them as much?

      ~Deb

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  3. Yes, I did read them and they were all great! You can buy used copies on Amazon for super cheap ;)

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    1. I might order them today. Hubby wants something ordered so these books might just happen to fall into the cart. hehe

      Have you read The Diary of Mattie Spenser? It came up as a recommendation, looks to be a similar type book.

      ~Deb

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    2. I have read The Diary of Mattie Spenser... but I couldn't remember so I had to look it up in my Library Thing. I read it 4 years ago and gave it 4 stars (out of 5). I gave These is My Words a 5 star rating ;)

      I think you'd also like The Colour. It's also a favorite of mine and you can also pick it up used on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312423101/ref=nosim/librarything08-20



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    3. Ooh, another one for my list! =) Actually, I wonder if my library has any of these. I keep saying I'm going to start using the library and I never do.

      ~Deb

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    4. I think paying $5 or less (w/shipping included) for a used book is worth saving time going to the library and back ;)

      The Colour takes place during the gold rush time in New Zealand. I hope you get a chance to read it!

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    5. It is worth it considering I don't seem to ever be getting to the library. LOL But I'm also at the point where I have to consider space. Until I get some shelves put up, the piles of books on the floor continue to grow.

      I'm considering clearing some space by donating to the library anyway, so if I'm there.......

      ~Deb

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