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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Her Name was Falon, not Ellen

Everyone enjoyed reading My Name is Falon, by Kim Wiese, although most of us had some reservations and some criticisms of the book. The author is local. Although she couldn't attend our group, she sent some historic information. She said the Highland "clearances" took place beginning around 1740 and going on for some decades.

Although the author researched extensively to write the book, several of our astute members found errors or limitations to the historical material. Dennis mentioned the most blatant anachronism, that rifles were not around at the time of the story; "muskets" would have been more appropriate. There was some agreement that the story might have been richer if the author had researched more. Many of us felt that the story was simple, thin, and lightweight; with shallow, somewhat stereotyped characters and some interactions and story lines not fully developed or concluded. Although we noticed these weaknesses, rather than disliking the book, we wanted more.

It seemed that this meeting brought more observations than conversations. We didn't have much of arguing or going off on tangents. There wasn't much discussion centering on how the book relates to today (which is often where the tangents begin), although Carla did mention that she could relate this story to today's immigrants.


Several of our longstanding members noticed that this story reminded them of a book we read in 2002, True Women, by Janice Woods Windle. I didn't think of that, though I did read both books; there are always admirable surprises from our members!

Emily, our newest member, noticed that there was a lot of redemption in the story - all the characters were redeemed in some way after their errors. We thought this might have stemmed from the author's earlier writing inspirational stories.

The point of view of this book differed from most, in that the Alamo aspect was experienced by people far from the Alamo and receiving the news days later by word of mouth, rather than the story taking place at the Alamo.

Janice suggested this book might be better for a high-school student, and someone suggested junior high. This is not meant to be silly; the book had a lot of merit as a historical novel but was a little light for us.

This brings me to the Texas Book Festival...because I volunteered there at an event for an author who writes historical novels for preteens/teenagers: Laurie Halse Anderson. How's that for changing the subject? I wanted to say that at our meeting we had some interesting sharing about experiences at the TBF. At least 6 of us had been there, all going to different discussions. This TBF had beautiful weather and a huge attendance! We hope it was a huge success for all concerned!

The TBF discussion was actually at the beginning of the meeting. At the end, we brainstormed as to the best books about Texas. Here are a few:

Lone Star Nation - H.W. Brands
Raven's Bride: A Novel of Eliza Allen and Sam Houston - Elizabeth Crook
Texas - James Michener
Capture - Scott? Pam, please let me know and I'll put in the author
Gates of the Alamo - Stephen Harrigan
Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry
Anything by J. Frank Dobie

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