Wednesday, April 6, 2016

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May DoddOne Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Seriously, this book is so poorly written I struggled writing a review deserving even 1 star. The author hasn't the slightest clue or insight into women’s thoughts or emotions yet he chose to tell this unbelievably improbable fiction from a woman's point of view. If this is on your "to read" list I suggest you read this excellent 2008 review (contains spoilers)by Elizabeth first. She says it better that I can:
Elizabeth: "I read this for book club and felt distracted by the quality of writing, and therefore unable to even entertain the implausible historical premise... I just have a difficult time buying into a "journal" which contains pages of dialogue and real time events, with a voice that constantly contradicts itself and clearly belongs in a different century... but I tried to ignore this. . . . had great difficulty getting into the mind of a woman, let alone a 19th century woman! (i.e. gang raped and "fine" within a month or so, pregnant, yet walking/horseback-riding great distances without mention or concern of said pregnancy, blushing and giggling after losing one's virginity doggy-style, the list goes on...) I found his stereotypes to be tiresome, and the whole story felt very contrived, particularly the relationships he "explores" throughout the novel (which in my opinion reach little to no depth). The caricatures he presents belong in a comedy, and while this novel has its humorous moments, it is ultimately a dramatic portrayal of the hardships of frontier life, and the clash between the spiritual but doomed Native Americans and the white man's Manifest Destiny.

It seems readers love most about the novel its heroine, May, for her brazen ways, fortitude in peril, and feminist ideals. Please. This character is being spoon fed to 21st century women readers. A much more likable, realistic, and complex version of this same character is Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody, who fits in perfectly in Peters' light-hearted, adventurous historical mysteries. And while Peabody would be the first to join the men for a whiskey and soda, contemplating the next "course of action," she would never, for her own amusement, make a mockery of a culture's ritualistic and spiritual traditions! Compared to the fully developed Peabody, May is a mere stick figure, propped up by the author in effort to sell his book."

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