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This novel takes you right into American history and vividly brings to life every detail of the era. What I appreciated most was that Jiles is dealing with the lives of ordinary people as they strive to survive and prosper in harsh conditions , always facing the threat of poverty and starvation.
A believable story of one family's survival of the Great Depression in Texas. Ever since the movie "Giant," there is a tendency for stories about women and Texas to follow a kind of pattern. This breaks the pattern. Writer Paulette Jiles is known for her deep research and it shows here. There is little sentiment, and a whole lot of practical reality to the frailties that make or break a family I do think that Jiles has a way of taking you places you don't expect. For example, the female lead meets a man when she is very, very young and she runs into him periodically over the years. His story, making his way in the oil fields, marrying, having a child, and trying to get a ranch going is a ribbon that runs through her own story. She's got a daddy who loves her and her mom, but he's a rounder and they seldom live well. If not for her mother's resolve to make do no matter what, I'm sure that the girls would have ended up whores or worse. Somehow they manage to live into adulthood and by chance end up going back to the abandoned family farm. Three women trying to pull together what dust storms and the Depression tore apart, their strength is inspiring. I found myself appreciating that there was no sentimental romance or miracle save, just the willingness of these women to get up every morning and face the day. After all, that's pretty much the only thing anyone can do.
Either this book by Paulette Jiles or her more recent book, News of the World, is my favorite book in 5 years. The characters are captivating and the richness of the author’s prose compelled me to dig into this book. The era of the Great Depression is quite fascinating and illustrates the best of American perseverence and character.
I read a different book by this author, called The Color of Lightening. I liked that book very much. Then I read the synopsis of this book, and thought that since it was the same author, it would probably really be good. Boy was I wrong. I thought I was going to be reading a book about the lives of three different women. I thought that I would be reading about each of their difficulties of life during the depression. That is not the case. The entire book revolves around Janine. Yes, she has two other sisters, but they don’t really even play a role in the book. Janine is just not someone you grow to love, or even care about for that matter.
This book read very slowly and was very boring. It could also be depressing if you let it get to you. I think I’ll wait a while before I read another book by Ms. Jiles.
This is a beautifully written book set in Texas covering the time period from the 1920's through the beginnings of WWII. Oil, the 1930's dust storms, cotton, poverty and the overcoming of it, triumphs and tragedy, awakenings of love are all here in this saga. While there isn't a "plot" in the traditional sense - no climax or denoument, - it's a powerful story that takes you into the era so you feel as though you are living it with the characters. Highly recommend.
An excellent read-- compelling and difficult to put down. The character development was well done, the primary characters aging realistically throughout the decade that the book reviews. The hard scrapple times of the dust bowl, the weaknesses of the adults, and the weather that seemed to be created to just cause these characters to bend and break, are all unnamed characters that give the novel substance. Highly recommend.
Loved this book! Her writing is so rich, loaded with vivid description. I reread many paragraphs again just to absorb the wonderful imagery. The characters are so, so real and I miss Jeanine and wonder what became of her! Just discovered Paulette Giles a couple months ago and am reading my fifth book of hers now.
I had read News of The World and enjoyed it, so tried this one. I have to say Paulette Jiles is an amazing writer. This one is funny, human, tough, descriptive, romantic and fast moving. I wasn't sure about an oil well novel with brave women, etc. Would it be too grim. No. Loved it.
I love Paulette Giles. She is an eloquent writer, and I find it hard to put her books. I want to read them all the way through in one sitting, but I love reading slowly and savoring every word and image. What courage the people she writes about had to have to endure the extreme poverty and stress during the Dust Bowl years. I suggest reading all of her books.