Sunday, April 13, 2008

33. "One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd" - Jim Fergus

In the 1854, the Cheyenne people asked the United States government for 1,000 white women as brides to prove positive relations between the two "nations." Of course the chief, Little Wolf, was refused with disgust.

What if his request had been accepted? This novel explores the possibility of women sent to the Cheyenne for the simple purpose of baby-makin'. Women are released from prisons and hard labor, shamed existences and insane asylums. May Dodd, the narrator of these faux diaries, shares the women's adventurous tale.

If you can believe that women would happily comply to this test, and if you can believe that the Cheyenne men would be content with these strange women, and *if* you can believe the rest of the Cheyenne women and children would be okay with such an agreement, then you will enjoy the story. The characters are bold and memorable, even if the plot is a bit predictable.

But there's that "if."

I had difficulty letting go of my disbelief, mainly concerning the Cheyenne males. The women storm in on rituals and interrupt personal time with no reaction from the men other than grunts of disapproval. I didn't buy it.

Still, it's well researched and entertaining, which can be enough for some readers, like me on a stormy Saturday.

2.9 out of 5.0 Prairie Chickens.


Lezlie said...

I thought about reading this one, then my husband told me about the "puppy strangling" scene. Off my list it went! :-) But I did hear it was pretty good otherwise.


Nathan said...

I think what-if speculations like this are risky buisness. Part of the reason to dramatize history in the first place is to tell us something about the event and ideally relate back to our contemporary period. Of course, some dramatic licence is necessary but when this much is taken, it's hard to take it seriously.

And you're right, the "if" here is pretty damn big.

Jeane said...

It sounds interesting, but a bit too far off the mark of reality. I don't know if I would be able to actually read the whole thing, judging from what others have said of this book.

W&MGrad said...

Interesting! I just started this book this morning--it's the June selection for my book club. So far I'm enjoying it, but I am finding it a much easier read than the last book I read (So Brave, Young and Handsome, which I loved, but it is a harder read and it isn't for everyone).

Of course, I'm on page 34 so I'm not really qualified to form hard and fast opinions about this book yet!

By the way, I just found your blog and I love it!

Kristin Dodge said...

Thanks for your posts... I hope you stick around. Anyone who grew tired of the top 1001 books is WELCOMED here.

Lezlie said...

Am I invited even if I haven't gotten tired of the 1001 Books yet? :-)

Have a good day, Kristin! We're finally getting some sun here in fly-over country!