Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Pages: 322 pages
Published: May 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson was a selection by the Fort Worth Library's Stay at Home Book Club. With its inception on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has grown to several hundred members who read a book about every two weeks. Because of the controversy between this book and The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, I had this one on my TBR list for some time. I was very thankful to read it with such a interactive reading group. 

The historical fiction story follows Cussy who is a packhorse librarian and also one of the last of the Kentucky blue people. While the book is fiction, the genetic trait that causes a disease known as methemoglobinemia is real, as are the descendants of the Fugate family who were afflicted with it. 

Because of her condition, Cussy and her father live a relatively reclusive lifestyle in the Kentucky hill country. Cussy secures the packhorse librarian position, which was funded by the government, because she was a single woman with no husband. She is very proud of her job, but her father, who is beginning to age due to his rigorous work in the coal mine, wants to get Cussy married off so he knows she will be taken care of upon his death. Cussy, wanting her independence, vehemently disagrees. The main conflict in the story is between Cussy and her father but more so between Cussy and the ignorant people of the community who either shun her completely because of her physical condition or attempt to "fix her" at all costs. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found Cussy as a "blue person" to suffer many of the challenges that Black people (or colored people, as they were then called) also endured. Additionally, the part of the book about marrying one's daughter off (when all she really wanted was to read and learn) reminded me of The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare that I read earlier this year. It's amazing how we as a society can look so different on the outside but share some of the very same internal and emotional experiences. I wish the author would have connected more of that theme in the book, hence the slight deduction in rating. 

Recommendation: Overall, I found this book engaging, entertaining, and informational. I think I devoured it in about one week's time. I highly recommend it as an anytime read! Support your local library!

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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