I read this book for my Adult Pop Lit class, so this review is tailored to what I want to remember for class.
I'm never going to be a Western lover, bu...moreI read this book for my Adult Pop Lit class, so this review is tailored to what I want to remember for class.
I'm never going to be a Western lover, but this book was okay after I got into it. I had to try sometimes to not let some of the text bother me--for instance when L'Amour writes that Angie wonders what Hondo thinks of her because she is a woman. (Men wonder, too!!) I think much of that is probably a product of the setting as well as the time that the book was written initially (1952). In a lot of ways though, Angie was a really strong female character. She missed having a man around, but she was also fully capable of living out on the land on her own, raising her kid. I wonder if the strong woman is typical of westerns...I suppose Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman would imply that they are not so uncommon. :)
The story is set in Arizona. It doesn't have much of that tavern brawl feel that is the stereotype I have about westerns. There's fighting though and lots of descriptions of particular punches and guns and whatnot. Once the action got rolling, I did find myself curious about how the story would resolve.
Westerns strike me as appealing to all those kids out there who loved to play cowboys and Indians. In our politically correct culture, I did feel like L'Amour at least tried to show shades of gray--e.g. not all Indians are bad, not all white men are good. There were good and bad guys on both sides. I did wish there had been more about the motivations for the fighting. It felt a little random and disconnected for me. There wasn't a lot of historical context for the story.
As a genre, I don't know where Westerns have to go from here. Essentially, it's a type of historical fiction, and that's a genre that's not going anywhere. With that said, I don't know anyone under the age of 60 who reads Westerns. Granted, I didn't do an exhaustive survey, but of all the readers I know, only my stepfather and great uncle are fans. So, I guess I would lean toward Westerns being a bit of a dying art. (less)
It was weird to read this book as an adult. I can't remember if I ever read it as a child or not, but I knew all the stories--presumably from the show...moreIt was weird to read this book as an adult. I can't remember if I ever read it as a child or not, but I knew all the stories--presumably from the show on the Disney channel...
I was surprised not to see Tigger, but remembered all the other characters fondly. I did find Rabbit a bit snotty as a grown-up reader and Eeyore to be a little whiny...although he does so often have profound things to say about being thoughtful of your friends, etc.
Pooh is a total pig. I remembered that he was into honey, but geez--he's always eating!!!
Anyway...I was entertained by this book even as an adult and I think that these stories can still appeal to lots of kids. There's nothing that really dates the text since the characters are mostly imaginary and the only thing Christopher Robin really does outside of the "story" is take a bath, which is certainly an activity readers can relate to!(less)
I can respect that this book was, at one point, the only lesbian book out there marketed toward teens. I can see the value in the story and can certai...moreI can respect that this book was, at one point, the only lesbian book out there marketed toward teens. I can see the value in the story and can certainly respect the work as groundbreaking and understand that lots of readers will have a sort of nostalgic attachment to this book. However, I don't really feel that books like this (groundbreaking, but not that great--think Heather Has Two Mommies) should still be the cornerstone of GLBTQ collections in our libraries.
I didn't think this book was particularly well-written. I sort of skimmed over lots of the boring stuff about the school fundraising drive and the very silly ear piercing situation.
I can see how this story is engaging--I liked the format of Liza's attempted letters interspersed throughout and I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters. I was, however, annoyed by the fact that the lesbians in the book were portrayed in absolutely the most non-threatening way--meet at 17, fall in love, never have interest in anyone else, live together, and one day be fairly passionless people who resemble, in Liza's words, comfortable old shoes. I think our literature now can and does do better. I think readers are better served by an array of characters and situations.
I respect what Garden did for the genre, but I can't say I think this is the greatest book around. Perhaps if I'd read it at 16 I would have felt differently, but who can say? Like Well of Lonliness, I think this book has a place as a historical part of lesbian literature, but I'm certainly glad we have more choices now.(less)