Thursday, March 25, 2010

Literary Rut (5/30)

I confess. I have been in a literary rut of late. I have gotten more than half way through Les Miserables and I just hit the proverbial brick wall. I couldn't bring myself to read more. Instead I went on a bad/cheesy/horrible chick lit spree. Yes, I know. It's shocking and disturbing. They were light, fun (sometimes), easy to read and best of all required absolutely no brain power. I finished several books in a matter of days. After reaching my fill of contrived plots and overly dramatic romantic climaxes, I tried to read something a little more stimulating. Animal Farm, The Secret Life of Bees, Me and Orson Wells....all to no avail. The stack of approximately ten books on my night stand in varying stages of readness (yes, I said readness) will testify to the literary stupor that has held me captive of late. I searched in vain for the book to break the spell. I spent far too much money at Barnes and Noble but still could not find the book that could capture my attention as well as engage the mind. It wasn't until I perused my bookshelves late at night in search of something that would catch my attention.

Lo and behold, there it was - hiding on a double-stacked shelf, out of site. Could it be that I have never actually read this book? I've had it for well over a year...the receipt inside can testify to that. Really? Never? I immediately crawled into bed and rejoiced in the delicious sound of a new book spine being broken, the smell of ink and paper inviting me into a new adventure. Let it be know that my Literary Rut has ended all thanks to Cokie Roberts and her book...

Founding Mothers: The Women who raised our nation.

As you can probably tell this book is about the women behind the men known as the Founding Fathers of our nation. Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Betsy Ross, Dolley Madison and Mercy Otis Warren just to name a few. Roberts thoroughly explores the maxim - behind every great man is an even greater woman. By using excerpts of letters to each other, family members and their husbands, Cokie is able to paint a portrait of vivacious, intelligent, caring, ardent patriots that made the work of their more famous husbands possible. At one point Cokie states that if it hadn't been for their husbands, history would have forgotten or never known these women. Her point being, they didn't do anything out of the ordinary for their time and yet their lives were extraordinary. In a time when women were not expected to do much of anything by societal norms, these women and hundreds - thousands of women like them - defended their homes from the British, ran business, plantations/farms, supported the Revolution in spirit and physically in the form of donations of money, time, supplies and on more than one occasion by joining in the fighting. My favorite person is by far Abigail Adams. As her husband was off signing the Declaration of Independence, in Paris working on the peace treaty, being Vice President and then President, she kept the home fires burning. She managed their financial matters and often advised her husband on political matters. She often understood the political climate and events better than her husband (the President) and could predict quite reliably what would happen. She wasn't afraid to tell her husband what she thought and let him know she was upset with him. On more than one occasion in letters to anyone who would listen, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, her husband, she advocated the education and equality of women. She was feisty, independent and deeply loved her country and her husband.

If you have any interest at all in women's history or even early American history this book is a must read. Cokie's style of writing is easy to read and entertaining. It's more like talking to a good friend who happens to know quite a bit about early Revolutionary women.


PS. I didn't just arbitrarily skip to (5/30). I did read The Sari Shop Widow (3/30) and O, Juliet (4/30) but I am not going to review them as I didn't like or dislike them enough to make it worth the effort.

3 comments:

容郁雨茵 said...
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somebody said...
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小研 said...
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