1000 White Women and The Middle Place

Did you think I was talking about Tiger Woods’ biography there for a second? That was Matt’s joke. He’s funny that way.

These last two books I read have blown me away. I absolutely love it when you find an awesome book. One that sticks with you and you think about weeks or even months later. These two are those kind of books.

1000 White Women by Jim Fergus

My friend, Crystal, gave me this book to read. At first I was a little unsure if I would like it. It’s a time period book which I don’t usually like. It’s historical fiction which I don’t usually like either. But, Crystal and I have similar tastes in books so I gave it a chance. Boy am I glad I did!

First of all, the author is a man. But he’s writing from a woman’s point of view. Flawlessly. How do they do that?? I’ve read a few other books (A Thousand Splendid Suns comes to mind…) where the author has managed to capture a woman’s mind so perfectly that it astounds me. I’m not sure I could return the favor; I guess maybe I don’t understand men well enough to write as one.

The book is written in journal form from the point of view of the main character, May Dodd. The government has decided to trade 1000 white women for 1000 horses to try to cement good relationships with the Indians. May is part of the first wave of women to be traded. She comes from an insane asylum; many of the women are from asylums or prisons! May was in the asylum because of promiscuity; she had two children out-of-wedlock. The horror!! I guess a lot of us would have been “put away” back then, huh? She’s just happy to have her freedom and the chance to maybe, someday, get back to her children. So she agrees to become an Indian’s wife.

The characters are colorful and unique; the setting is obviously interesting. The book has love, romance, motherhood, grief and action. I couldn’t put it down. And, while you’re reading it, you’ll feel as though you’re getting a grammar lesson because the other uses words such as “bellicose” “antediluvian” and “propitious”. I could figure most of them out from the context clues; to me, that’s fun. I feel like I’m using my brain a little.

The ending is just as it should be. I didn’t want it to be over. I walked around making up Indian names for my kids and myself such as “One Who Destroys Bedroom” and “Giggles Softly While Peeing”. Not anything that the author would have used but fun to me. I was so immersed in this book that I wanted to keep it going by imagining May’s life. The book is that good.

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

I ended up with this book as the result of a swap party. I traded some jewelry that I never wear anymore for some books and this was one of them. It’s a memoir and it is beautifully written. It was a quick read and I couldn’t put it down.

Kelly is a mother of two little girls living the San Fransisco battling breast cancer. The book alternates between present day happenings and flashbacks to her childhood, college years and early marriage years. You fall in love with her and her family. She is a Daddy’s Girl times ten; her Dad, “Greenie”, is the other major player in the book. He’s battling cancer for the third time while she’s battling hers. You want to have a Dad just like hers after reading this book. She has two brothers who make you grin; her mother is full of love and quiet strength. She’s very real which, to me, is a requirement of any memoir. I don’t want any fake B.S. in my memoirs! This book made me laugh, made me think, made me cry. You’ll love it, I promise.

Let me know if you read them and what you think after you’re done!! I loved them and hope you do too.

“One sure window into a person’s soul is his reading list.”

— Mary B.W. Tabor

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5 responses to “1000 White Women and The Middle Place

  1. Excellent! These sound interesting; I’m always looking for good books. Maybe we should start a blogger’s book club or something.

  2. 1000 White Women is my book club’s next pick. Glad you gave it such a positive review.

    I had a chance to hear Kelly Corrigan speak and she is so witty and personable. She read an excerpt from her new book called Lift. I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. It is short, but very powerful read. I recommend reading the book in one setting.

  3. Hey lady, what an accurate review of 1000 white women! I loved it as you know and what funny names you gave the kids. I bet I can guess who got the giggling while peeing name , LOL.

    Is the 2nd book the one you were going to let me borrow? ;-)

  4. Those look great! A new favorite fiction author is Julie Buxbaum – check her out at http://www.juliebuxbaum.com

  5. Thank you for these reviews – they’re super, and helpful! I loved TMP too, but have been looking for something to rival The Help — sounds like 1000 WW might.
    I’ve been reading The Girls, about conjoined twins — it’s lovely and easy to fall into…

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