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2015 Bookshelf: Ruth's Journey

Meg Chaney

 

One of the requirements for the dream book I'm going to write someday, you know, the one that will make my family independently wealthy :) is that it has an appealing cover. I want people to be instantly drawn in by the colors, the words, the images, so that they can't help but pick it up and start reading it for themselves.

Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig was one of those books for me. I loved the drawing on the front, but even more so, I was caught when the cover said that this was "The Authorized Novel of Mammy from Gone With The Wind." I'm a huge Gone With the Wind fan, any author that can make you love and hate the main character at the same time is pretty impressive! Plus, the story took place over such a fascinating period of time. I loved all of the history woven through that novel! I was so excited for this authorized prequel to such an epic, lasting story.

And overall, I was satisfied. The story covered Ruth's life, from a young girl living in Saint-Dominque, to an old woman living as a mammy in Georgia. Through the story, you saw her character progress, and search for her own sense of identity. As a child, she was treated as Ruth, a member of the family and mammy to a tiny child. When she grew older she was Jehu's wife, with her own child, and then, through heartbreak, she became a mammy once again. Going back to the home she used to know, and watching generations of that family grow older. 

I ain’t Mrs. Jehu Glen no more. I ain’t even Ruth. I’ze Mammy! .... That who I is!
— p.208

 

Mammy searches for her identity in a confusing world. Life in Georgia is in upheaval, shortly before the Civil War. Everyone is questioning, changing, taking sides on what they believe. And Mammy is there, living her life, stating her opinions pretty noticeably, and trying her best to raise up children with "deportment." Is she always successful in this? No, but she's faithful. 

This story ends shortly after Gone With the Wind begins, and I have to admit that I now want to read that story once again. Perhaps that's a complement to a good book?

At the same time, I do have to leave you with a few warnings.  There's definitely drinking, immorality, and some love scenes. I wouldn't say these scenes are explicit in the least (and I'm very picky), but it would be my hesitation in recommending this book.

 

 

 

Interested in what I'm reading this year? Check out my Pinterest Board here. This was book 3 on my 2015 Bookshelf. Here's what I'm reading next.