Thursday, January 16, 2020

Dear Edward

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano was a can't-stop-reading-late-into-the-night book! It's beautifully written and although the story sounds as if it would be terribly depressing, it is a quite interesting, tender, hopeful novel.

Dear Edward (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition)

The story is about Edward, a twelve year old boy, traveling on an airplane with his family from the East Coast to the West Coast.  The family was moving for the mother's job opportunity.  I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that the plane crashed and Edward was the only survivor of the crash.

The novel is told in alternate chapters, beginning at 7:45 am as Edward's family enters the airport, and through-out the flight telling the stories of the people on the plane, until 2;12 pm when the plane crashed. The other chapters are about Edward's life following the crash, from June 12, 2013 (the day of the crash) until June 2019.

The story is one about survival, surviving the loss of parents, and brother, along with loss of friends where he was from, along with most importantly, loss of self.  Who are you after you lose everything in your life?  How do you ever trust anything or anyone after a loss like that?

It's an amazing story and not one that has any easy answers.  Edward had to struggle for years to begin to find who he was.  Great story!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Before and After & The Revisioners

Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate is a true follow-up to Before We Were Yours (by Lisa Wingate). Before We Were Yours was a fictional novel about a family whose children were taken into the Tennessee Children's Home Society.  Before and After is "The Incredible Real-life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Society".

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society

The book is written in a very read-able way, with short chapters of the stories of some of those who were either stolen or taken to the Home.  Miss Georgia Tann ran the home, and would sell the children that were brought there.  If the parents showed up to get their children they were told that either the children were dead or had been adopted and the parents would not be able to find them.

The authors, along with one of the survivors of the Home, organized an informal reunion in Memphis (where the Home had been) after Ms. Wingate's book touring for Before We Were Yours brought out survivors of the Home to her talks/readings. Some of those attending the reunion were children of survivors.  The Home had been run from 1920 to 1950, so many survivors were either gone, or were seventy or older.

The whole thing is just an incredible story.  Though it is not necessary, I would recommend reading Before We Were Yours, before reading Before and After.

The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton is, at the heart of the novel, a story of mothers and daughters. It travels back and forth from 1855 to 1824 to 2017. Josephine was the daughter of slaves in 1855 and soon her family escaped to New Orleans and traveled a bit north.  By 1924, Josephine owned a large farm, is widowed, and has a grown son.  In 2017, Ava, the great-great granddaughter of Josephine was dealing with her son and her white mother-in-law. She kept a picture of Josephine with her at all times, for strength and purpose.
The Revisioners

The novel deals with racism, generational memory, and the strength of mothers and daughters. I would say that the generational memory is what holds the characters together. It is a fascinating book!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Vengeance of Mothers

The Vengeance of Mothers-The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill by Jim Fergus is a novel based on the true journals of these women.  This book follows the book One Thousand White Women by the above author.  It was published in 1999, a novel based on the true journal of May Dodd who participated in the 1873 Brides for Indians treaty that President Grant signed.  The treaty was with the Cheyennes in which 1000 white women were promised  for 1000 horses.

The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill: A Novel

The Vengeance of Mothers takes place right after May Dodd was killed.  These journals begin in March of 1876. Margaret Kelly and her twin sister had just survived the brutal attack on their Cheyenne village by US soldiers, the same attack which killed May.  The sisters each had twin babies at the time of the attack.  All four of the babies died of the cold as the sisters hid in a cave. Soon after the attacks, Margaret and her sister learned that a new group of white women had been sent and they were asked to look after them.  They reluctantly did so.  Molly McGill was one of the new women.  Those who had survived the attack soon decided to leave and head for Crazy Horse's village, with the hope that the two tribes could join together.  This book is the story of both the training and preparation of the trip that the new women would soon be taking, as well as the actual trip.

This is really a fascinating book.  Reading about the everyday day life of the Cheyenne tribe, men and women, was so interesting.  And I felt like I really got to know the characters in the book.  It's a good read!