Friday, June 20, 2014
Read - These Is My Words
by Nancy E. Turner
'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.