Sunday, July 26, 2009
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
My book group picked this book thinking it was non-fiction. The novel is based on a real event- in the 1870s a Cherokee chief asked President Grant for 1000 white women to marry his braves under the belief that children conceived under this arrangement would belong to the woman's clan and thus the Cherokee Nation would be saved. No such arrangement was made. In fact, the whole idea was ridiculed and dismissed. Fergus wrote a fictional story from this point forward and made it as if this did happen and white women were sent to marry Cherokee braves. May Dodd was one of these women and she journals about her experiences.
The premise was good for this book-the execution was bad. Fergus' characters were all stereotypes. The Irish were red-headed drinkers; the French did not bathe often enough; a Southern gal was a racist, etc. May Dodd was a late-twentieth century gal not a woman of the 1800s. The one redeeming factor about the book is that it was sympathetic to the Indian's plight and seemed fairly authentic in it's representation of their lifestyle for that time period.
Adult to late teen; My rating: 2 out of 5 stars