I don’t know what to say about this Evergreen book except that it was a really tough read.
Katherena Vermette’s The Break tells the story of one fateful event on a cold winter’s night. We get many perspectives on this tragedy and the events leading up to it and its aftermath. As the book progresses we see how these perspectives belong to a group of different women (and one man) who are all connected in some way, shape, or form.
I can’t say I enjoyed this book since it deals with such gut-wrenchingly difficult subjects. I did find it engrossing, one of those books that is really difficult to put down. These women demonstrate such strength and resilience and it was inspiring, but overall this book just left me very sad.
Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.
-Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
The July block in my Happily Ever Stitchalong was Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. I did read the book when I was younger but when I think of this story the first thing that comes to mind is that kind of creepy stop-motion TV series. Anyhow, I rewatched the series while I was working on this and it was quite pleasant in that slow, pastoral English countryside way (as an aside, I never noticed as a kid, but how weird is it that there are almost no female characters? I’ll have to reread the book and see if there are any in the original.)
I liked this month’s block but I made so many little mistakes here and there. I kept having to rip out and restitch sections, which really slowed my progress for the month.
I was pleasantly surprised by my latest Evergreen read, The Spawning Grounds by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It takes place around one of the many B.C. rivers where salmon spawn; one side of the river sits the Robertson family homestead, on the other is a Shuswap community. The novel opens with a protest against a development that threatens this integrity of the river.
With that sort of set up I was expecting a very particular sort of story, but that was not at all what I got. I’m having trouble writing about this one because there’s such a major twist and I feel like it would be kind of a spoiler to reveal it, but it happens so early in the plot that it’s hard not to hint at it. Let’s just say I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but not necessarily to anyone and everyone.
The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
June’s Happily Ever After block was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie. I read some of the books as a child but didn’t really remember much of the details so this was a perfect opportunity for a reread.
I read the first four books in the series (Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, and On the Banks of Plum Creek) and quite enjoyed them for the most part. I loved the descriptions of farming and cooking and making butter and sewing clothes and all the details of self-sufficiency. Reading this as an adult though makes me really wonder about a few things – what kind of father puts his family through all of that when it isn’t necessary? And the attitude towards ‘Indians’ in Little House on the Prairie – I know it was written at a different time but oh my!
Anyway, on to the cross stitch.
I didn’t love this book. I don’t even think I liked it. There were elements I really enjoyed – one of the main characters is a weaver and the descriptions of her loom and yarn were quite enjoyable, and a secondary character is a chef from Trinidad (where my family is from) and the descriptions of island food are mouthwatering.
But some of the characters find themselves in really awful and unhealthy situations and it just made me so uncomfortable. I could see how the they got there, they truly did not know any better (this is the type of book that really drives home the importance of properly educating your children, even when the topics might be something you’d rather avoid). There was one scene where a character does something absolutely morally reprehensible yet it’s almost glossed over. Also, everything just wrapped up so neatly. Overall, reading this book made me feel a bit dirty – I wouldn’t recommend it.