Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mary Coin

Mary CoinMary Coin by Marisa Silver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Historical fiction books are always tricky. Choose an era that you're really fascinated by and hope that the book does justice to the time that they are trying to describe. Silver does justice to the 1930s Depression era in Mary Coin - I appreciate the lives of migrant workers in a way that I did not before reading this book. That said, I did not love Silver's story. Her characters were missing key pieces in their development and the way Silver wove the characters together seemed too convenient. Perhaps I wasn't willing to suspend reality since this book was said to fill in the gaps behind the famous migrant mother photo taken by Dorthea Lange. For all my dissatisfaction, I have to admit that there were beautiful lines about the scars, both literal and figurative, that we carry as well as the questions we fail to ask when trying to ascertain this thing called life.

I would actually give this book 2.5 stars, but because I genuinely learned new things while reading it, it gets the ever elusive bump that my students crave on their grades. If you read a great deal then I would recommend this book. If you do not, I would still choose Steinbeck as the voice of the Depression. Nothing is better than East of Eden.

Happy reading!

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