Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Memory Weaver

This newest fiction release from Jane Kirkpatrick is based on the life of missionaries Henry and Eliza Spalding.  They served the Nez Perce Indians in the Pacific Northwest.  More accurately, it is based on their oldest child Eliza's (named for her mother) life after the Whitman Massacre in 1847. The Whitmans were fellow missionaries at a mission farther west.   Eliza was witness to the massacre as a child and dealt with those memories much of her adult life.  She happened to be at the Whitman mission when it occurred.  She was taken hostage and as the only survivor who spoke the Nez Perce language, she was made to serve as interpreter between the indians and the missionaries.  The attacking tribe was Cayuse but spoke the Nez Perce language.
The memories Eliza has are not all accurate, only the way she remembers them and much of her life after that was influenced by those memories.  She grows into a strong independent young woman but struggles with her husband's desire to take his cattle to range in the area close to where the massacre happened.
From the back cover:
 "Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal.  As she searches the pages of her mother's diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story."

This is a well written novel with good dialogue and picturesque descriptions of the Pacific Northwest.  I appreciated the care taken to ensure the grammer and sentence structure were accurate.  It is told in the first person by Eliza with every few chapters being interspersed with pages from her mother's diary.  It took me a few chapters to understand that all the diary writings are from Eliza's mother, with the bulk of the story being Eliza's telling of her life.  Mother and daughter both named Eliza required a little more attention than I normally give. That's not a bad thing, though.
This is my first time to read a Jane Kirkpatrick novel.  I was impressed with the talent and skill that is evident in her writing.  It is difficult to write about history, making it a novel and still keeping the accuracy of the events, while fictionalizing some of the daily life and characteristics.  Mrs. Kirkpatrick does a good job with that.  I recommend The Memory Weaver  and give it five stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for the purpose of an honest, unbiased review.  These words are my opinion.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

The Martian by Andy Weir

Wow!  White knuckle reading for sure.  But, it did take a while for me to get to that place.  It begins with the reader being made aware that astronaut Mark Whatney has been left behind on Mars by his crew.  They think he is dead. A hellacious storm is headed their way and the crew makes haste to get from the HAB to

 the MAV to abort mission and head back to their space station home, the Hermes.  On the running (as much as you can in a spacesuit) trek to the MAV "flying wreckage slammed Watney carrying him off into the wind."  This detail comes halfway through the book, which is ok.
The author starts this story with Astronaut Watney regaining consciousness and realizing that he has been left behind by his crew.  Not their fault.  Truly an accident.
Andy Weir tells the story of Mark surviving alone on Mars, in the MAV and HAB utilizing everything he can find.  I do mean everything.  He tells it with humor that gave me a laugh-out-loud frequently.  The protagonist is an extremely resourceful and intelligent individual.  He is an astronaut, after all.  His calling is botany with mechanical engineering thrown in.
This book is well written, grammatically correct and sentence structure is good.  I did find it a little dry during the time that Watney was into a daily routine doing all things he knew he needed to do to survive.  I read through that and it picked up when he established communication with earth.  It was pretty exciting from that point on.
I know this has been made into a movie, with Matt Damon playing the part of  Watney and I could see Matt as the character of Mark Watney from the first page.  My copy is the newly released movie tie-in version so it may not read exactly as the original-not sure about that.
This is a debut novel from Mr.Weir that was first published in 2011.  The movie tie-in version which I read just came out and the movie is due soon.  It is a good book, and I recommend you get a copy and check it out.  I give The Martian four stars.  I received a complimentary paperback copy of this book from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Thanks so much for being here!