I have always collected heart shaped trinkets. I have numerous crystal hearts, the Nambe heart serving pieces and a Jim Dine heart print on the wall. Thus, I LOVE Valentines Day. I revel in finding the perfect cards for each recipient- my kids, my husband and my friends. Thus, I wish all of the Great Thoughts community a very Happy Valentines Day filled with hearts and happiness.
Speaking of happiness, I recently had the great pleasure of reading two FABULOUS books.
You Know When The Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
I’m ashamed to say that I really don’t know much about military families. This collection of intercollected short stories written by a military wife is simply riveting. It just came out on January 20th, right when Michelle Obama began a national pr tour supporting our military families.
Typically I do not like short stories as I crave really long books that hold my attention for days. This book of short stories is so poignant and at times gut wrenching that it held me captive. It vividly portrays the challenges of military marriages.
“She carried her worry night and day. It pulled at her legs and shoulders and tear ducts, always there and ready to consume her.”
“…his buddy Blake had opened a package from home and found divorce papers underneath a bag of melted M&M’s.” “Would someone who voluntarily hosed dog feces out of kennels really leave her busted-up and Purple Hearted soldier husband.”
“Family members received a few special privileges like this lousy parking space, but that meant the pity rising from the asphalt singed hotter than any Texas sun.”
Given that many, like me, know very little about our military families, I believe this book is a must read, a captivating must read.
This book will be published on April 1, 2011. Thanks so much to Jessica McCann and Bell Bridge Books for sending it to me to review. The best part of this book is that IT IS A TRUE STORY! This book is the Winner of the Freedom in Fiction Prize. This prize sounded impressive so I googled it- “An international prize that honors the best unpublished works of fiction with the greatest potential for imparting the ideas of free markets, liberty and personal responsibility across a wide audience in a positive manner. I knew I loved this book and reading the definition of the prize it was awarded makes me love it even more. “
This is the story of Margaret Morgan, a free black woman in the 1830’s. Margaret and her husband Jerry were both free and living a good life in Pennsylvania raising their kids until a bounty hunter from Maryland comes and claims that Margaret is a runaway slave. She and her children are taken to Maryland and subsequently sold as slaves.
She fights back. She took her case to court- one state views her as free while another views her as a slave. Her will to fight is nearly extinguished but she continues. What happens to her family is tragic but her resilience and faith that her fate will change gives the reader hope. The Supreme Court case of Prigg vs. Pennsylvania resulted and laid the predicate for the Civil War.
Margaret was taught to read as a child- unusual in those days for the daughter of slaves. Mrs. Ashmore who taught her said, “Margaret, a book is like the best friend you can imagine. Once you read a book, it stays with you forever. And she was right. Next to my children, reading is the greatest blessing I ever got.”
To her daughter Emma, Margaret says,” And, most important of all, don’t lose hope. You were free once. Emma, you were. We all were. We lost our freedom and it’s not fair. But when something gets lost, it can be found again. Just because we don’t see something anymore, doesn’t meant it’s gone forever. “
This is a beautifully written book with amazing character development. I felt like I knew Margaret and Jerry so well. I believe we will see more great books from Jessica McCann and look forward to them.
What are you reading and where are you going?