Rehearsals are in full swing for the upcoming Maine Playwrights Festival. It's been a while since I've had the time for the huge commitment that Theater asks of you, but this is a one act play so it's been great to be able to fit that into my schedule. I'm struggling to get some song writing done, a lot of snippets of unfinished thoughts floating around on scraps of paper.
School is going well, but doing extra work to conquer my nemesis, reading fingerspelling.
I have managed to finish two books, but will only review one on this entry and save the other for a later blog. The book I'm reviewing is called "The personal History of Rachel Dupree" by Ann Weisgarber. After the disappointment for me of "The Help" I almost swore off reading any book about Black people, written by White people, which tend to be self indulgent Great White Hope stories in disguise.
I decided I wouldn't paint with such a broad brush. While perusing a local book store (which I tend to do a lot, even though I tell myself to refrain from bringing home more books!) "The personal History..." caught my eye, I read the back cover and was intrigued,then had that moment of "Oh, crap, who wrote it?" I quickly turned to the "About the Author" page and saw the picture of the very white Ann Weisgarber. I admit I had a moment of wanting to drop the book and move on, but I thought about my broad brush promise and decided to turn a blind eye and give this book a try.
"The Personal History..." is the story of Rachel Dupree who works as a cook in a boarding house in Chicago in the late 1800's. She meets and later marries Isaac, a former Buffalo soldier who is intent on making a life for himself as a Homesteader in the Badlands of South Dakota. This is a little known chapter in American history. It was a well written story about a woman taking on the challenge of carving a life out of the unforgiving landscape of the Badlands. It was full of vivid and rich texts. The Author also delved into the complicated, many faceted relationship between Native-Americans and African-Americans. They were slaves, friends, enemies, allies, and family. A relationship that remains uneasy and hard to define even today.