This is a well-researched account of the disappearance and subsequent search for two honeymooners who traveled down the Colorado River through the GraThis is a well-researched account of the disappearance and subsequent search for two honeymooners who traveled down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon running rapids in a scow. The year was 1928 (9 years after the Grand Canyon became a national park) and Bessie Hyde would have been the first woman to attempt such feat. The author makes a good point that aside from the adventure of the journey, Glen and Bessie lived in the age of “record setting and exploration” (Amelia Earhart, George Mallory, Charles Liindbergh) and a successful trip would have earned them enough fame to go on the pre-television Vaudeville lecture circuit that accounted for so many small theaters across America at the time.
Because their bodies were never found, there were several stories that grew up around the disappearance that the author revisits, along with their backgrounds before they got together that added to the mystery of who they really were. For example, Bessie, only 23, had been married before. The book has substantial discussion of rafting that may interest and benefit someone who has done or will do such a trip. However, the technical details are not so overwhelming as to turn off the more casual reader who is mostly interested in the mystery part of the story. I know enough about the area and some of the places and names that it was easy and entertaining for me to imagine the trip. I also enjoyed Bessie’s pieces of poetry (just simple rhymed verse, many tied to the river and exploration) at the start of each chapter. The author had access to a phenomenal amount of photos (many of which I wished were larger as sometimes small ones were surrounded by the blank space of a whole page) that evidence the access the Hyde family and others gave him to any surviving records of the two. The author’s work is a labor of love for the sport and the couple.
On the other hand, I did come away from the book thinking the story was unfinished. I didn’t feel there was complete commitment by the author on settling on what happened to the couple – he in fact asks people to contact him if they find out any more. One thing I would have liked to have known more about was why Georgie had a copy of Bessie and Glen’s marriage certificate. I don’t think that question was answered with any certainty, so maybe more time in the book should have been spent researching these other “Bessies” and “Glens” if the real Bessie’s and Glen’s final ends were not clear. To me, this part of the book was the most curious, but too short in comparison to the setup and technical details of the river and painstakingly mapped out route.
Overall though, I think the author did a very nice job and could recommend the book to several people. ...more
In 1930s Minnesota, Patsy Schwartz is a seventeen-year-old girl who decides to run away from home and hitch across country, when her ex-con father sheIn 1930s Minnesota, Patsy Schwartz is a seventeen-year-old girl who decides to run away from home and hitch across country, when her ex-con father she doesn’t trust to start with tells her she must marry the town sheriff’s deputy son. Virgie Berg, her BFF, and the only person she lets in on her plan, impulsively travels with her, adventure bound. The author, Judith Grout, expertly creates a realistic and colorful cast of characters who punctuate the journey, which fundamentally is a coming-of-age story of two young women who dare for their first taste of independence. The debut novel is a little long for my taste, but ultimately satisfying....more
This is a great book on a tough topic. The selfish, paranoid, chemically imbalanced, unfathomable and miserable voice of someone struggling through anThis is a great book on a tough topic. The selfish, paranoid, chemically imbalanced, unfathomable and miserable voice of someone struggling through an eating disorder comes through loud and clear. LHA once again demonstrates she is an excellent writer. The only issue I have with the story, and perhaps it is a substantial one, is the relationship between the two girls – if they made that pact, they knew they needed each other, even if they had been distant. Cassie called 33 times and Lia mentally registered most of the calls. The friends since grade school had already both been to rehab over the eating disorders. They must have known a lot about what the other must be going through. Why didn’t Lia answer the phone? Or even listen to a message? It seems to me that struggling with an eating disorder is a terribly lonely/interior condition and the self-loathing is much bigger than disgust or ill-will towards almost everyone else around you. So I didn’t quite get on board with this one important fact because I believe a real, rather than fictional Lia, would have picked up. ...more
Well this book wasn’t what I was expecting when I purchased it, but I kept on reading because the voice was good and for what I know it is now – a newWell this book wasn’t what I was expecting when I purchased it, but I kept on reading because the voice was good and for what I know it is now – a new adult romance – it’s done fairly well. The novel is not about being an exchange student – this aspect of the story exists as a plot device to get Talia from Santa Cruz to Melbourne. However, the author does incorporate and authenticity to the Melbourne setting with Australianisms and places that sound real. Other than the romance, there is also some exploration of a person who deals with OCD that adds more interest to the story. I don’t think the grief a person might have when a loved one dies, combined with the anxiety of being somewhere new (especially someone with OCD) was all that believable, but again, those were probably more plot devices to make the character seem more sympathetic and vulnerable. Overall, this novel was good for the genre and the author’s voice is au courant. ...more