Friday, January 04, 2019

The Indifferent Stars Above

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride. Daniel James Brown. 2009.  352 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The night before Sarah left Illinois for California, a full moon--as plump and promising as a pearl--hung over Steuben Township.

Premise/plot: This nonfiction book focuses on the Donner Party through the perspective of Sarah Graves Fosdick--a newlywed traveling with her new husband, Jay, and her family (father, mother, siblings).

My thoughts: The Indifferent Stars Above is above my maturity level apparently. I found myself screaming at Sarah--and some of the others--almost from the very beginning. DON'T GO TO CALIFORNIA. MARRY JAY AND STAY IN ILLINOIS.

The book is compelling enough I suppose; it certainly lends itself to DRAMA and ACTION.

But I also noticed something about The Indifferent Stars Above. It doesn't stick strictly to the subject--the journey of the wagon train or the pioneer families. It has asides--dozens and dozens of them. This one has so many pages of info dumps. I started imagining these info dumps as being narrated by Sheldon Cooper. They generally consist of facts that he would more likely or not find fascinating and feel compelled to "work naturally" into conversation.

I found it equal parts fascinating and horrifying. It would have been helpful to have a list of people in the wagon train--those that went with/joined the Donner party. The book does include a list of the camps at the last-last stage of their journey. But I didn't find that helpful enough.

Other books I've read on the subject:
  • Donner Dinner Party. (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #3). Nathan Hale. 2013. Harry N. Abrams. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
  • To Stay Alive. Skila Brown. 2016. Candlewick. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

No comments: