Wednesday, March 21, 2007

All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley

I was really worried that this book wouldn't be as good as it was the first time I read it five years ago. At the time, I had just moved to Kansas without knowing what to expect (sort of like the main character). Thank goodness upon my second reading and this month's Sunday book discussion, this is still one of my absolute favorite books. In part one, Lidie marries Thomas Newton in the morning and they move to Kansas that afternoon, as free-staters in the 1850s. In part two, less than a year later, Lidie cuts off her hair and goes looking for revenge after her husband is shot and killed on the path to their homestead. The best part about this book is that Jane Smiley never gives you an opinion about slavery or government to simply accept or reject - she offers multiple perspectives and then shows the complications and shades of grey until you are just as uncertain as the characters, and presumable as the people who lived through this time.

Also, a friend helped me see that my own spouse is similar to Thomas Newton in all the best ways, which make me love him all the more! (My spouse, not Thomas Newton.)

I read my personal copy. 452 pgs.


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