Saturday, September 24, 2016

"This Road We Traveled" by Jane Kirkpatrick (book review)

"This Road We Traveled" by James Kirkpatrick surprised me by being a book of historical fiction. When I picked it up and chose that I did not realize that it was based upon a real person. I really enjoy when a book surprises me-especially with history.

The book follows Tabitha Brown, an older woman who refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her children decide to travel out to Oregon. And by travel I mean in wagons with a wagon train, headed west. That used to be a great dream of mine. 

my stack of newly finished books
And then I began to read books about traveling west and realized how very, very difficult the time traveling in a wagon was. I believe it was especially hard on women, having to do the cooking without what was then modern conveniences and doing laundry in various places and keeping children occupied that time. I personally would have no idea how to cook over a fire except to make Smores and if everybody wants to eat chocolate marshmallow graham cracker sandwich every night, we would be good to go.

The trials along the way for the Brown matriarch and her children were significant. People got sick, others on their wagon train passed away, and eventually they were left with really hard decision of whether to go a very difficult path over a river or to take a new path that was supposedly easier. I don't want to give away more than that but I thought it was just very interesting how Kirkpatrick wove such a wonderful story around someone who was historical but who is not widely known.

I personally did not care for the character of Tabitha Brown because she is very headstrong and seem to stick her foot in her mouth quite often. Perhaps I did not care for her because that is the part about myself that I don't care very much for. Sometimes I can say the wrong things at the wrong time. But it did give some authenticity to the character.

I very much appreciated hearing about another character who is separated from her family. I never thought about that and never heard any stories about that, although I'm sure there are plenty. But to really think about how difficult that would be if your parents decided to go one way and we're almost forced to leave by the head of the wagontrain to leave because of weather or rationing.

I always appreciate learning something in a book and I feel like I learned a little more about what the Oregon Trail with like and a little more about how certain parts of Oregon were  established thanks to "The Road We Traveled" by Jane Kirkpatrick.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and others' opinions may vary.

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