On Thursday, February 14th the Fixed on Fiction me to discuss the book One Thousand White Women” by Jim Fergus. Here are some of the comments that were made during the meeting:
-We had a very lively discussion. The people attending the discussion were split on their opinion towards the book. Some people really liked it and others had several problems with the book.
-The people who enjoyed the book pointed out that it was well written and a fast read, they were drawn to the characters and wanted to know what happened to them as the book went on.
-There were some comments made about May Dobb being a likable and strong character that always went for what she wanted. People were impressed that she was willing to leave her privileged upbringing behind to be with the man she loved, they liked how resourceful she was in order to get herself out of the insane asylum.
-People also liked that May made the bests of any situation and was mostly optimistic about her future.
-People who disliked the book mostly said that a lot of the events were not believable; it seemed that tragedy upon tragedy kept occurring to the point it seemed silly.
-It was hard to believe that a woman like May would just give up everything to go live with a man she loved and still refused to get married to him.
-People also had some issues with May as a mother, some of us did not understand why May would volunteer to go live so far away from her children, we would have liked to see her fight more to stay close to them.
-There were some comments made about Fergus choosing the write the book from a point of view of a women through her diaries, it seemed inauthentic since he is a man living in contemporary times. To counter this point someone did point out that the author mentions that he had a woman help him with his perspective from a female point of view.
-We talked about the historical events and mentioned that even though Fergus has a note at the beginning of the book that the events are not real the story is told in a way that it makes you forget. He does make it clear that the treaty never happened and that President Grant never sent 1000 women to live among the Indians.
-We were not sure how we felt about Fergus’ portrayal of the Cheyenne Indians. On the one hand he was able to show different sides of the society although everything was shown through May’s eyes which were not very objective; on the other hand the incident towards the end when they cut off the baby’s hands seemed so horrible that it was hard to see the tribe in a likable manner.
These are just a few comments made during the discussion, feel free to add your own in our comments section.