Have you read any good books lately? I've been on a bit of a reading streak... (I seem to go in fits and starts.) Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls is another "true life novel" based on her family. A story of poverty and determination, she tells of her grandmother's life of struggles and tragedies, luck and resourcefulness. Walls has a way of drawing you in so that you feel you are right there, experiencing the flood, suffering through the drought, or whatever. Life in rural Arizona during the Great Depression was not easy and the main character, Lily, struggled to eke out a living by doing whatever was necessary to help her dysfunctional family survive. If you liked The Glass Castle, you'll love Half Broke Horses.
Another book I finished recently was The Virgin Cure by Canadian author Ami McKay. I loved The Birth House by McKay - it was a phenomenal success, and no doubt The Virgin Cure will surpass it. I was hooked from the opening sentence: "I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart." Set in the late 1800's in the tenements of lower Manhattan, the story quickly draws you in to the time period when times were hard and children had to quickly learn to be street-smart to survive. At age 12, Moth is sold by her mother to a woman of means who requires a servant. This sets in motion a chain of events in this young girl's life that are almost shocking to read. Without giving away too much of the story (you really must read it yourself!!) Moth tries to "make her way" on the streets which are filled with thieves, pick-pockets, and prostitutes after escaping the cruelty of Mrs. Wentworth. She is eventually taken in by Miss Everett who runs a brothel which caters to gentlemen who pay well for companions who are "willing and clean", particularly young virgins...
McKay's characterizations are richly detailed. I became so engrossed in Moth and Dr. Sadie, both strong female "leads" in the story. The setting also plays a major role - McKay's vivid descriptions made it so engrossing; her historical research, particularly into her great-great grandmother's life as a female physician in New York City has enriched her writing. The inclusion of historical sidenotes and newspaper articles added a great deal as well. If I was rating this book, I would give it 6 stars out of 5. You MUST read The Virgin Cure - it's as simple as that!!
I'm nearly finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova, but that will wait for another day...
"In books lies the soul of the whole past time."