Sunday, April 29, 2018

"A Pioneer Woman's Memoir: Based on the Journal of Arabella Clemens Fulton" edited by Judith E. Greenberg and Helen Carey McKeever

Do you ever get the urge to sell your house and pack your most useful things into a covered wagon and head for the western horizon in search of a new and better life?

I don't exactly get that urge, but sometimes I get this yearning for it.  Like, I wish that I wished I was a pioneer, or something?  Because wow, they were astonishingly brave and intrepid and hardy.  Maybe this is why I'm fascinated with astronauts too.  I wish I knew if I was that brave and intrepid and hardy.  Sometimes I think I am, and sometimes I suspect I'm not.  

Anyway.  This book is based on the memoir of one pioneer named Arabella Clemens Fulton.  It's excerpts of her memoir, together with excerpts of her journals, and also some editorial explanations of things.  I thought it was going to be her actual memoir, and I'm a bit disappointed that instead, it's a sort of abridged version of what she wrote.  I think this book is meant for teens who are supposed to be learning about the west or something?  

Although this book wasn't what I was expecting, what's here is pretty fascinating, all about the deprivations and joys of moving west in a covered wagon and making a new home for yourself on the frontier.  Arabella strikes out with two married siblings and their spouses, heading to Oregon to escape the unpleasantness of the Civil War, but she never makes it that far.  Instead, she settles in Idaho, gets married, and starts a family.  I got some ideas from it for one of my future fairy tale retellings, so that's a plus.

Particularly Good Bits:

I was young then, just twenty, with all the romance and reality of life before me, eager for adventure, full of life and activity, and with no element of fear in my makeup (p. 22).

Out of the hideousness of the War was built this great Western domain (p. 27).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Nothing objectionable here.

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