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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

September 28, 2007

The Journals of May DoddHave you ever gone to a restaurant, eagerly anticipated a delicious meal of, let’s say, linguine with white clam sauce, only to take one bite and know that something is just not quite right. You can’t pinpoint it exactly, but the taste is just a little bit off. This is the feeling I had for the first seventy something pages of One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus.

As described by Booklist, One Thousand White Women is an American western with a most unusual twist, this is an imaginative fictional account of the participation of May Dodd and others in the controversial “Brides for Indians” program, a clandestine U.S. government-sponsored program intended to instruct “savages” in the ways of civilization and to assimilate the Indians into white culture through the offspring of these unions. May’s personal journals, loaded with humor and intelligent reflection, describe the adventures of some very colorful white brides (including one black one), their marriages to Cheyenne warriors, and the natural abundance of life on the prairie before the final press of the white man’s civilization.

Mailed to me by my girlfriend Ariel with high marks, then recommended by two women in my book club (and picked for our September book), I was anxious to dive right in. To be honest, after about fifty pages I was ready to send this pasta dish back to the kitchen, ala Gordon Ramsey. But my sense of duty told me that I better finish this one up so I can at least discuss it with the other ladies when our club meets.

But then something changed. The book, which in the beginning bored me to tears, got going with a little gusto and I am happy to say that the last 3/4 of it made up for the rough beginning. With enough hair-raising action and a story line that move a bit more quickly, I was glad that I stuck with it and found out what happened to May Dodd.

All in all not a great read, but entertaining in the end.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2007 4:03 pm

    Oh I’m sorry to read that you didn’t enjoy this one more. I read it in the early months of 2004, so I don’t remember many details, but I know I really enjoyed it. (4.5/5) Sometimes it’s just timing/mood.

  2. September 28, 2007 6:00 pm

    Really? I loved this book. Loved his second one even more.

  3. September 28, 2007 7:56 pm

    I have to agree with Susan; I loved this book, but I have to admit that I started with his second one _The Wild Girl_ which was even better than this one, so I was predisposed to like it! 🙂

  4. lisamm permalink
    September 28, 2007 11:00 pm

    I’m about 100 pages in and was really ready to send my pasta back to the kitchen, LOL. I will keep reading and hope for the best. Thanks for the review.

  5. September 29, 2007 12:09 pm

    I had heard about this book recently, and was intrigued by the premiss. I’ll have to look for it on a future trip to the library.

  6. October 1, 2007 11:18 am

    Whew! I have been wanting to read this one and will be getting it to read for one of my challenges. I’ll make sure to have a back up ready just in case I can’t take the heat lol. Thanks for the review!!

  7. January 2, 2008 1:32 pm

    It’s interesting you had trouble getting into the book. I don’t remember having that problem, though I seem to be having that problem a lot lately (Stones From the River, Harry Potter, etc).

    I really liked the book though. I left a comment on Books on the Brain that a friend of mine thought the book seemed a little far fetched. I think she found it difficult to believe that the white women, who were so resistent at first, would accept the Indians in so short a period of time. I didn’t find that to be the case, I thought they went through a fair period of unacceptance before they got past their prejudices. And in the end, after all they went through, some wouldn’t even fight with the Indians, which was sad but realistic to me. I thought the book was good food for thought.

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