G351 Book Review of Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner
Author: Carol Bodensteiner
Publisher: Rising Sun Press
Type of book: 1913-1919?, WWI, German-American treatment, independence, Iowa, talent, photography, farming, escaping, glamor, family, relationships, friendships, working, Spanish flu
Year it was published: 2014
Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.
Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.
GO AWAY HOME is a captivating coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.
The main character includes Liddie Treadway who finds her life at the farm to be confining and who desires to have a taste of the world. She is talented at sewing as well as photography and is also resourceful and brave as well as loyal to family and friends. I found her to be a likable character. Other characters includes Liddie's friend Minnie who is happy-go-lucky, cheerful and is Liddie's best friend. Mrs. Tinker is Liddie's mentor, a talented businesswoman and also advices Liddie. Mr. Littman is also Liddie's mentor but often lives in clouds and skies and in someways is very practical when it comes to relationships. Joe Bauer is a German-American man that is the hired hand and he is close to Liddie and her family. Vern is Liddie's brother and supports Liddie financially and emotionally. There are other characters such as Aunt Kate who happens to be a suffragette and is very independent and a school teacher plus Amelia, Liddie's sister who makes a big mistake.
There is more to life than satisfying self
The story is written in third person narrative from Liddie's point of view. Whether or not the reader has familiarity with the era and what was going on, I found the story to be very resonating as well as relevant and modern. Prior to Liddie's major decision, she and characters around her are explored in a lot of detail, as well as trying to understand what's worth sacrifices and what isn't. The story is also easy to read and very informative. Often people forget about the past prejudices too quickly, and its nice that the author did remind the audience that prejudices are nothing new. Also the themes of family, friends and mentors is very vital in the book.
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)
When I started to read this book, I was reminded a little bit of The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather, which is about a young immigrant girl that sacrifices having a normal life just so she could become the greatest singer. In other words, the young immigrant girl can't be both and can't have both. In some ways Liddie Treadway does resemble Thea Kronborg, but the lessons that are learned are different than what Thea Kronborg learns. Upon further reflection, I also guess the book is a bit of evolution when it comes to the question of "having it all." Shortly before Willa Cather, there was Sarah Orne Jewett that explored the theme of societal expectations versus satisfying self, and the sacrifices of following self, which would probably be a fascinating topic to write about on its own. I found the story and the book to be a compelling easy read that I would recommend to people who are only starting out to read historical fiction.
This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
Go Away Home Blog Tour Schedule
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)