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Whorticulture

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  21 reviews
As a girl waits for the return of her disappeared father, the story of four migrant women unravels. In antebellum America: a daydreamer from the country gets an unexpected education on the Mississippi river; a storekeeper falls in love with a thief amid the chaos of Gold Rush San Francisco; a fugitive quadroon re-invents herself in a New York brothel; and a young bride is ...more
ebook, 158 pages
Published April 13th 2012 by Hotel Alphabet on Smashwords
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  28 ratings  ·  21 reviews


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Michaela McGregor
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author provided a copy for my honest opinion.

Whorticulture gives us a glimpse into the lives of four women in nineteenth century America. They have never met, nor will they, but their lives are inextricably linked. Each woman’s tale is a piece added to the mosaic of a larger narrative, detailing the history, plight and choices of women in a male dominated society.

An incredible amount of research and thought went into this book. The format, title and use of historical flower dictionaries are
...more
Gloria Piper
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
Women Overstepping their Boundaries

We approach what appear to be a series of short stories, but they have a connected theme. Each story is told in first person by a woman in antebellum America. Part of her message is conveyed in flowers, as women of the period are compared to flowers. For example, the white rosebud refers to girlhood, the olive blossom means peace, and the begonia says beware. Mancio includes a list of flowers and their meanings in an appendix.

The book begins with a letter from
...more
Tracey
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ltmg, 3-star
This is a very unusual book. I won it through LibraryThing's Member Giveaway in exchange for a review; otherwise I'm not sure I would have finished it. Yet in the end I'm glad I did finish it.

The title is just what it appears to be, a play on "whore" and "horticulture". (I'm sure there's a word for that; conflation?) For the first part: The lives of four young women of antebellum America are highlighted, and through them the expectations and limitations of women in the time period. Four young
...more
Jeffrey Hammerhead
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Whorticlture transported me back to the times of 1844, 1847, 1851, and 1854 through the eyes of four different women. Through the use of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, and water) and the six senses, I was captured in each time frame. From dust catching a ray of sunshine to the sickening effects of poisoning an abusive husband, I did not want to leave the worlds.

Each story starts with superb writing, as in the tale of Katharine Mae Jarrett, “I am of cornfields and vague skies, of coffee
...more
Larry Garner
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My Review of Whorticulture
by
Marie-Anne Mancio

The six different scenarios in the book are similar only in the strength of the main characters. The women (or girls in some instances) are not all technically whores, as one might surmise from the title, but all are in some fashion reduced to serving men and men’s whims.
Reading many of the scenes makes me ashamed for my sex, as when some of the women’s guardians or masters treat them as little more than chattel, but my faith in humanity is
...more
Britt
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
Really loved this book! A surprise, I must admit; I was a bit hesitant since it's, well, about whores, and I was a bit scared it might turn into cheap porn, but it was nothing like that.
The book tells the stories of women, who all find themselves in situations they weren't prepared for, and have to make difficult choices. Not all of them are actually whores, but two have unconventional relationships, one is indeed a whore, and the fourth is a different story altogether... All women are connected
...more
Kimberly
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
This book was a quick read and I really liked how the different stories were connected by some of the characters. Each of the women endured hardships, despite some having better social situations than others. Yet, they proved to be strong and were able to change their circumstances through whatever means necessary in order to survive.
Ali Isaac
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it

This book comprises four short stories concerning young women in C19th America, linked by their dependence on the men in their lives. Do not let the title mislead you; they are not all whores, yet in different ways they are all forced to sell themselves to some degree, in order to survive.

The short story is notoriously difficult to write. It cannot, by its very nature, tell the character’s whole life story. To my disappointment, however, this is the trap I feel this author has fallen into. Each
...more
Sandra Helen
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at women during the antebellum period who are forced to find a way to support themselves, or choose to support themselves, whichever the case may be. Six different women are highlighted, from different classes and races. I read the book on Kindle, and found myself wishing over and over that I owned it in paperback so I could flip back and forth easily to compare the women or men or situations easily.
I love the usage of horticulture, the flowers, weeds, seeds and the meanings
...more
Kathryn O'Halloran
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Interesting times, interesting stories. The stories of the four women in Whorticulture can be read as stand-alone stories but are linked together by the times in which they live and the men in their lives. Handled badly, this could be jarring but the lyricism of the writing in Whorticulture ensures this isn't the case.

Each story focuses on a relationship, not a love story but more of a power struggle between each woman and the man in her life. In those times, of course the man often held the
...more
Zrinka Jelic
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I quite enjoyed this book. The stories, though separate, are related through men who reappear in them from the POV of a different heroine. The stories take place in late 1800's in America, New York to Boston to New Orleans, they touch on gold rush, the slavery, the stiff societies in which women were kept as a possession to a man and her only way of making a living was prostitution. Where it was a man's right and duty to read his wife's correspondence before he hands the letter to her, where he ...more
Joelle
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I looked at the table of contents and saw "Appendix I: Floriography" and "Appendix II: Book Group Reading Guide," I was filled with joy. So full admission :D I glanced at a few reviews while I was checking "how many pages" because I needed to finish reading this book in a timely fashion; I laughed at a "too short" I saw and at "collection of short stories." I danced in the little connections between one story and another; they were connected into one story of "woman and her experiences." ...more
Mona Karel
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Whorticulture is not a book I would normally read, since my taste runs toward a less literary approach to story telling. I'm overwhelmingly glad I found this book and read to the end.
This is a book about women in history and what they had to do to survive. It satisfies on a visceral level and also plays sly tricks on our preconceptions. Whorticulture consists of four short stories set in post Civil War America, loosely related through the men encountered by women who must make their own way in
...more
Lauren
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

These four nineteenth century American short stories are compelling. The stories are linked by each woman’s will to survive and their will to do whatever they have to. There is a great deal of research that had gone into creating these stories and the women’s lives. The stories are informative and vivid. The only problem I had with these stories is that they needed a long introduction into the women’s back-stories that
...more
Tona
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was an amazing take on woman during the antebellum period. Each one of these stories features a woman in a completely different social level. While neither of these women are in same situation each one has persevered and has done whatever it took to survive.

I think that this book is something every woman should read. It made me feel a sense of pride knowing that these women who were broken down, fought hard to rise again.
Tony Breeden
May 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Whorticulture is not a book I would normally pick up. The name, the cover, the jacket description all scream feminist literature and I… well, I’m a big, hairy man who likes to grill big hunks of glorious red meat. I received this book as part of a book review exchange program on Goodreads. While the book had its good points, I feel justified in never ever picking up another piece of fem-lit again in my life.

The book consists of four short stories set in America’s antebellum era. The stories are
...more
Rebecca Vance
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book that surprised you? Maybe you didn’t expect to like it and you did, or expected to and didn’t? That can work either way. Maybe the description makes you have a certain expectation, and you find something else? This review is one of those kind. This is “Whorticulture” by Marie-Anne Mancio. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. This consideration has no bearing upon my review in any way.

I was at once intrigued by the title. I assumed it would
...more
Jay Howard
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was very impressed by this novel. The stories of these women, connected by the men they know, give a fascinating insight into the options women had, or rather didn’t have, in antebellum America. These are sassy women who are very aware of the choices they are making and know what they hope to gain from those choices. The men and the women exhibit both their frailties and their humanity. In those times of slavery and men considering women to also be their property, it is good to hear the voices ...more
Robin Waldrop
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Note: I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book was not a book at all, but four short stories set in early American times. Although I am not a lover of historical fiction, I found these stories to be entertaining. I think the author would have benefitted more had she separated these and wrote four separate novels. The reason is I felt like too much back story had to be given and didn't allow each story to unfold naturally causing the author to do more telling
...more
Sandra
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. The more I read it, the more I enjoyed it.It's the story of four women and their struggle to survive during antebellum times, a time when there were slaves and few ways for a white woman, much less a woman of color, to support themselves. I also found the writing beautiful and the details fascinating. This is a book I plan to reread again. It also made me want to find out more about the antebellum period in American history.
Reba
Nov 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I could only find this in eBook format, I didn't realize it was not published as a print novel. And, I think that is a big part of giving it 3 stars instead of 4. This was the type of book with loosely connected stories and it would have been nice to thumb back to a previous story and touch base. I also would have loved to be able to flip to the index of flowers and their meanings, and see how exactly they related to each story. The stories though? Very well told.
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