S.M. Stevens's Reviews > The Good Braider

The Good Braider by Terry Farish
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it was amazing

The author's bio conveys admiration for Ernest Hemingway's terse, laconic writing style. Farish puts this technique to powerful use in The Good Braider, in the narrative of teenage Viola. Viola couldn't be further from a typical American teen; dramatic outbursts and bemoaning the first-world difficulties of the high school years play no part in Viola's mindset. Her family's trail of hardship from Sudan to Maine forces the development of a backbone and mental toughness few of us can imagine. The sparseness of the words on the page felt to me the perfect way to convey the horrors of war through the eyes of a young woman somewhat numbed to pain as a survival mechanism. And when her emotions finally find voice and tumble out to her teacher, the effect is heart-wrenching and cathartic.

Back to Hemingway -- in Farish's bio, she notes the power of his portrayal of "simple acts of human grace" in The Old Man and the Sea. In The Good Braider, Farish succeeds in portraying the force and beauty of life itself through simple acts of family living, simple acts of cultural adjustment, simple acts of growing up, (not so) simple acts of maternal conflict, and simple acts of survival.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 16, 2020 – Shelved

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