Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Sunday, April 3, 2011

From My Library Bag: THE SISTERS from HARDSCRABBLE BAY by Beverly Jensen

I've noticed that quite often you like the same books, music, and movies that I do. (Yes, I snoop around your profiles.) And quite often when I see that you've listed a book or movie that is a favorite, I make a note to myself to check it out. Birds of a a feather do flock together! With that in mind, I thought I'd share my views on some of the books I've read lately...sort of a layman's book review.

Book:    The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay
Author:  Beverly Jensen

Star Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Synopsis:  The story of sisters, Idella and Avis Hillock; daughters of a rough New Brunswick potato farmer/lobster fisherman and a beautiful mother who dies giving birth to their younger sister. The tragic death has a profound effect upon the girls' lives. The story covers  their lifetimes, from 1916 to 1987.

What I liked:  I love stories about common folk; and this surely is that! The characters are lively and flawed. The scenic descriptions are lovely. I love stories based in the early 1900s because like the heroines; my own mom was born in 1915. Folks from this era went from horse-and-buggies to Neil Armstrong's moon walk. Values changed drastically; especially women's roles in the world; forcing Western society to adapt and evolve rapidly. The story masterfully portrays this. And though I have some problems with the women in the story; I appreciate the fact that they are strong characters with minds of their own. As a writer, I admire Ms. Jensen's ability to create a story so character-driven that even everyday scenes are colorful and interesting.

What I didn't like: I felt that the explicit language was overdone. I'm trying very hard not to sound prudish when I write this. Now I've been around some pretty salty language in my day; but children were never permitted to speak this way. In this story; all of the characters, including the little girls swear like sailors. (My apologies to sailors; it's a figure of speech. I know there are many who are gentlemen!) Call me Miss Polyanna Sunshine if you will; but I just don't believe that everyone talks like this!
There is enough sexual explicitness in the story in it for me to rate it an 'R'; but not enough to really turn me off.  And since, upon reflection, I probably am a bit of a Polyanna Sunshine, I prefer a little 'lighter' story than this.

Would I recommend the book? If you were from New Brunswick I might casually suggest it; as long as you were over 18. But generally, speaking, no. I think there's better stuff out there. That said, Stephen King gave it a rave review!

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