I can put it down but… do I really want to?

Feb 4, 2020 | 2 comments

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was recommended to me by several people after I expressed delight with Where the Crawdads Sing.  I wonder why.  What did they see in this book that reminded them of the other one?  And why don’t I see it?

It’s not that I dislike the book.  Quite the contrary.  But I don’t see much similarity between it and Where the Crawdads Sing.  I am finding Book Woman scary and depressing on just about every level.  But super informative.  And not that I don’t love the concept of women on horseback delivering books to those who would otherwise have no opportunities to read or to learn or to expand their horizons.

But this book covers so much more — extreme poverty, terrifying prejudice, and ignorance of unimaginable proportions.  It’s a horrifying story made more so by it’s proximity to truth.  Mind you, I’ve not finished the book yet, and I may find that it redeems itself, but so far…

And yet… I cannot return it to the library unfinished.  It seems that with each turn of the page there is a new reveal. Like this:

Nester Rylie’s been reading it, and she told me in passing last year, she ain’t rubbed groundhog brains on her babies’ sore teeth or needed to use the hen innards on the gums of her teething ones since.  An after she’d read about a good paste recipe that cured thrush, Nester said, none of her nine young’uns ain’t ever had to drink water from a stranger’s shoe again to get the healing.

More than anything, I wonder what my friends saw in the one book that reminded them of the other.  And I wondered what I am missing.  Come to think of it, though, that’s the best part about expanding our horizons — no two of us end up in exactly the same place,

I’m not sure I’m recommending this book.  But maybe…


  1. Dian Schroeder

    Sydney, I just finished this book and I read Where the Crawdads Sing. The only similarity I found was that both books are about the hard-scrabble life of each woman, the prejudice each suffered for being “different” and her struggle to belong (to be normal). I’m not sure either book can be “enjoyed” … but I do think both teach us something about people-both good and bad.

    • sydney

      I agree with you, Dian,, but, still… this book drags me down, depresses me and (so far) has no redeeming qualities. Where the Crawdads Sing made my heart soar — the language, the descriptions of the birds and swamp life, her joyeux de vivre almost no-matter-what. But I still have half of “Troublesome Creek” left to read, so perhaps I’ll change my mind…


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