Todd's Reviews > Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine  Brooks
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Jul 04, 12

Read in July, 2012

I don't generally like books about this period of time (puritan-era Massachusetts)--lingering problems from the Scarlet Letter...and the first half of the book is no exception. It isn't that I dislike the period, I dislike the puritan attitudes and get frustrated at the lack of resistance to their repressive lifestyles. Brooks successfully captures what it meant to be a woman in this society, and she provides a very detailed description of what life must have been like on the Vineyard for the early settlers. I never found Caleb to be a very fleshed out character, though, and the relationship between Caleb and Bethia stretched credulity on a number of occasions. Central to my skepticism was her easy pick up of all the languages her father was teaching Makepeace--it simply isn't that easy, and her father needed to be more conflicted about her abilities than he was. The best part of the book was the afterward, telling about how she found the historical background for the story and what was present and missing in the records of Native Americans attending Harvard. That helped me to see that she did weave a more complicated tale than I had thought as I read it. But the fact that I needed to read that afterward to appreciate her work in the story speaks for itself as well.

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