Monday, October 22, 2012

"These is My Words," "Sarah's Quilt," and "The Star Garden" by Nancy E. Turner


"Wait a second!" I can hear you thinking.  Micaela just reviewed one of those books by that author!  Well, ladies and gentlemen, lovers of good books, that's because we read the same book!  She actually read it a while before me, but she only just wrote her review of it.  I read it this past month for my book club then hosted a discussion on it last night.  (I learned if I write reviews on book club books before I go to book club, some of my friends already know what I'm going to say, and then I feel ridiculously redundant.)

I did pick up this book because Micaela liked it so much.  I also enjoyed the story of Sarah Agnes Prine, who is in fact the great-grandmother of the author.  Although "These is My Words" is heavily fictionalized, Sarah Prine was a genuine pioneer in the Arizona Territories in the late 19th century.  The story is 20 years of Sarah's diary, from 1881-1901, beginning when she's 17 years old.  She recounts a myriad of characters and experiences from the pioneer trail and life in the territory, love and loss, hardship and victory.

As the diary begins, Sarah's thirst for knowledge is evident, even though her use of language is rough.  As the story develops and Sarah forges her own path, so does the language mature and become more polished.

"Sarah's Quilt" picks up a few months after "These is My Words" ends.  Although it's still written in a diary format with dated entries, it read less like the style of the first book and more like a first-person narrative novel.  Book 1 reads how someone would speak to a friend, a little choppy and very informal.  But that's what made it an endearing method of story-telling.  "Sarah's Quilt" and "The Star Garden" are still from Sarah's perspective, but they are far more technically correct as far as writing style goes; a bit of the familiarity is lost.

"Sarah's Quilt" is only about 6-8 months in duration, and it's as long as the 20 years covered in the first book.    It's detail-rich.  "The Star Garden" covers a period of 5 years following "Sarah's Quilt."  I like how the 2nd and 3rd books let the reader follow how Sarah and her family change and grow, especially  how children and different relatives have their own stories going on.

Although I liked all three books, "These is My Words" was my favorite, and I think "The Star Garden" was a tad indulgent of the author.  I mean indulgent the same way Simon Cowel used indulgent to describe the way some singers on American Idol sang because they liked the sound of their own voice.  Am I coming through loud and clear?

Turner has another book, "The Water and the Blood."  I will probably read it someday.  Once you find an author you enjoy, it's fun to explore all their works.

No comments:

Post a Comment