Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: My Name is Mary Sutter / New Header and Layout!

Author: Robin Oliveira

Genre: Historical Fiction (2010)

About: (From book cover): "In this stunning historical novel, which opens on the eve of the Civil War, Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headstrong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine - and eager to run away from recent heartbreak - Mary travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens - two surgeons who unwittingly fall in love with Mary's courage, will and stubbornness in the face of suffering - and resisting her mother's pleas to return home to help with the birth of her twin sister's baby, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital."

Descriptive Words: Civil War, midwife, determination, family, loyalty, sickness, death, triumph

Thoughts: When I heard Laura Bush speak a few months ago, she gave high praises to My Name is Mary Sutter, so I thought I couldn't go wrong. I'd heard others speak highly of it as well, and I generally like historical fiction.

I should have been leary, especially after diving into and not liking Eat Pray Love, Lovely Bones, The Time Travelers Wife, The Poisonwood Bible, Three Cups of Tea (*dodging thrown tomatoes*), and Beautiful Creatures (did I even finish that?). I'm a picky reader. It's hit or miss with me. In fact the only recently raved-about book I agreed with was The Help.

But jump I did. When I started the book I was rating it a 5 (do you rate books in your head while reading?). I loved it. I admired Mary's strong personality. She was emotional and fiery. She didn't want to follow in her family's footsteps and be "just" a midwife. She wanted to become a surgeon. Her determination and drive to be involved in a profession normally chosen by men, and her struggle between family loyalty and desire to become a doctor, were my favorite parts of the story.

The other characters involved were just as interesting - Jenny, Amelia, Bonnie, Thomas, James Blevens and William Stipp - and completely added to the story. Loving, fighting, flirting, dying. Great stuff. I also enjoyed the medical aspect and the gory details of how she delivered babies as a midwife and tended to patients during the war. Mary was not afraid of anything, and I loved that about her. Talk about jumping right in...

As the story progressed, though, and the author brought in political details of the war and wrote from President Lincoln's point of view, it started to go down hill for me. I skipped sentences like a school girl on a playground. And I only do that when I'm bored. Whenever Mary or interactions with her family came into play my interest piqued again, but by that time I'd kind of resolved myself to just getting through it.

I was disappointed. I should have known.

Source: Library

Why I Chose: The hype

Recommend? Yes, if you like historical fiction and aren't afraid of hyped up books. No if you're on the fence about it in the first place.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Translation: Better than "it was okay" but not as good as "enjoyed it." I didn't give it a 3 because there were parts I loved, and didn't give it a 4 because there were parts I skipped out of boredom.

Other Reviews:

(Everyone loved it)

Caribous Mom
My Friend Amy
Booking Mama
Linus's Blanket
Bibliophile by the Sea

Anyone plan to read this, despite my review? Are you a picky reader and generally don't like books everyone else likes? Or does it just depend on the genre. Is there a genre you love and therefore enjoy almost every book in that genre? Do you rate books in your head while reading? Talk to me!

Oh, and how do you like my new header and layout? Lauren from Designer Blogs did it for me. Had to keep sweet Emma so everyone would recognize me :)


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