Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Club Report: What We Thought of These Is My Words

Yesterday was a Third Thursday, which means it was book club at my house! Did I ever tell you how much I love book club? We seem to be on a roll lately. I don't know, it just feels like everyone is really into it right now and lots of people are coming out to it and everyone (mostly) seems comfortable enough to just say what they think... and I love it. Sometimes what people think cracks us up to the point of hysterical laughing, which I hope is okay with the person revealing themselves, but like I said, I think there's a sense of comfortableness lately that makes it all okay.

So the book this time around was These Is My Words by Nancy Turner. This is a book I read years ago and totally loved. I was hoping to be able to re-read it but of course, that didn't happen. I did manage to take a bit of time yesterday and skim through it to remember a bunch of parts... mostly the Captain Jack Elliot parts of course! Hello. And just that skimming reminded me how much I loved it and reminded me also how sad this book is. Many times I felt weepy just skimming... but then again... it could have just been my mood.

Quick summary of the book: It's the dairy of Sarah Prine, starting when she was 17 years in 1880 or so and lasting for twenty years until 1901 or something. She is a pioneer woman, living in the unsettled West of Arizona. She has to deal with all sorts of craziness including Indian attacks, rattlesnake bites, untimely deaths, etc. At the heart of this book is the love story between her and the captain of the local Army branch. Basically, this book is a mixture of a coming of age/historical fiction/western/romance novel.

Here's some random thoughts thrown out by the group last night:

-- Several people voiced the opinion the the Captain Jack love story was a little (okay a lot) too unrealistic. He was too perfect, they were too in love, it all worked out too well.

-- Some thought more of this story was based on the author's great grandmother... in fact, SOME of it was, but a lot was added and made up... including the awesome Captain Jack. That was, shall we say, disappointing to some of us!

-- Both of those observations got us onto the subject of "magical marriages" and is there such a thing.. really? And do we as readers truly enjoy reading about magical marriages? Does it make us look more closely at our own marriages? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Do we want to read about marriages that perhaps struggle like ours do? Or do we want the escape of reading about magical marriages? Or are our marriages magical and reading about them reconfirms to us that fact? Yes... interesting discussion!

-- Most everyone enjoyed the spunkiness of Sarah, the heroine of this book. However, some also thought that there was just too much spunkiness and that she handled every trauma that came her way TOO well. We needed to see her flounder and struggle a bit more.

-- Then again, some thought that she was forced to handle too much stuff. Too much happened, it was overwhelming! But then some thought that they'd still rather have her life and her problems, then to deal with some of the stuff our modern day life throws at us.

-- No one seemed bothered by the bad grammar she uses in the beginning and in fact most, because of the hint the title gives us, expected it to be worse. But it was fun, we agreed, to see her progress in that area and get better and better the more she read and learned of the world.

-- A few people felt like they had this book built up a bit too much and expected more out of it, so they were a little disappointed. Some felt like they would have enjoyed it more had they read it at a different time. But I think bottom line, everyone enjoyed it for the most part, but I'm not sure there was any one who totally loved it. We were told that the sequel is worthless and to not read it.

I think this book club surprises me every time and I'm thinking I will never be able to predict what they will love or not.

Up next month is Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I'm excited because this is one I haven't read!

We then did our random book discussion, talked about summer plans and proposed books for next year which we'll be voting on in the next couple of weeks. Look for a separate post on all that.


  1. I just finished it and I really loved it! Great recap :)

  2. I loved this book and so did my book group. It was interesting to hear all the different feelings and opinions in your group. That's exactly why I love book group too. Just when I think no one else will feel differently than I do - book, I am surprised. And it's usually by someone I would have never guessed!

    Did I ever tell you that I met Nancy Turner in the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson when she was researching this book? She and I spent quite a bit of time together as we were both researching in the same areas. She is a great lady and our time together was always so fun. Some of those historic spots still exist around Tucson. It's fun to go back and see them. I lived about a mile from the old Ft. Lowell that Sarah and Jack were billeted at.

    Thanks for sharing this. It brought back great memories! Our book group meets next week for March Mystery Madness!!

  3. I'm afraid I was too vocal in my opinions because I think there were a couple people who really loved it. I was just yammering on so much they probably didn't feel comfortable saying that they thought it was wonderful. :( Oops. Sorry about that.

    Great recap, though. I did have a great time. Thanks.

  4. Way to take notes! I think you captured what everyone felt just great!

  5. Melissa: Glad to hear it! (Even if we ruined it for you?)

    Inside: What a cool story! Thanks for sharing!

    Kim: I loved your comments because it totally makes me see things from a different perspective.. which is what I truly love about book club. So no worries, and keep being vocal... please! :)

    Jenny: Ha! You should see my notes... a list of about five words was all it ended up being! I get too involved in listening...

  6. I did so like this book. My husband always mocked the title for its poor grammar, though. He still does!



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