Monday, November 18, 2019
The Giver of Stars
First sentence: Listen. Three miles deep in the forest just below Arnott’s Ridge, and you’re in silence so dense it’s like you’re wading through it.
Premise/plot: The Giver of Stars is a historical novel set in Kentucky in 1937/1938. The main characters are women who volunteer to be traveling librarians—riding horses or mules to get books to the rural communities. One of our main characters is Alice Van Cleve an English woman who married an American. Her marriage turns a bit sour; the library, the patrons, the other librarians prove to be her only solace. She can make a big difference in people’s lives by providing them books, magazines, recipes—knowledge of all sorts. But not every family in the community welcomes this new notion of Eleanor Roosevelt. Some are opposed to book learnin’ and think that women should stay at home and mind their own business. Alice’s father-in-law is the most vocal opponent. He hates the idea that people are being encouraged to think, to form opinions, and yes, even look up their legal rights. The second main character is an awesomely unconventional woman named Margery. She is deemed the worst influence of the community. But is that true?!?!
My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this one. Yes, Margery is a bit unconventional in a moral sense. (Has a baby out of wedlock.) But she is selfless, generous, kind, welcoming. I loved meeting all the librarians—all volunteers from the community. I loved going with them on their routes. I loved it when, for example, Alice took time out of her schedule to read to a sick, dying man. I loved it even more when she comforted the widow by reading aloud. Readers get to know a handful of characters really well. Overall this is a great read. It’s not super squeaky clean, but it’s only mildly unclean. In other words, it has a completely realistic feel to it. Nothing out of proportion or place. It never felt like a smutty book. Which by the way comes up in the novel, what kind of books are they carrying? Are they moral? virtuous? appropriate? Or are they vile, dangerous, the work of the devil? Should anyone read anything outside of the Good Book?!
I found it a compelling read. Definitely recommended.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews