Sunday, February 17, 2013

REVIEW: Okatibbee Creek

Title: Okatibbee Creek
Author: Lori Crane
Genre: historical fiction
Price: $2.99 (ebook) / $9.95 (paperback)
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Okatibbee Creek is billed as the true story of Mary Ann Rodgers.  She was born in the early 1830s in Mississippi, one of a herd of children (I lost count at 10) and lived through the Civil War.  This sounded exciting when it was described to me, but in actual reading not so much. 

The story is told entirely from Mary’s point of view, and she seems to be a very typical, ordinary sort, living the sort of ordinary life that one would expect of somebody in the then near-frontier of Mississippi.  There are typhoid epidemics, kids drowning and dying of whooping cough, and more than a few men killed (off-stage) in the Civil War. 

But I found that the story really didn’t engage me.  There were scenes that stuck with me (Mary, at one point, finds a wife has been laying in a bed with her dead husband for a good day or so) but the story as a whole wasn’t terribly interesting.  I think part of the problem was that Mary didn’t strike me as particularly engaging as a person.  I imagine that I couldn’t have a conversation with her, unless I wanted to talk about who was pregnant this week. 

I also think that the author, Lori Crane, tried to cram too much into the book. Mary Rodgers was a real person, and an ancestor of Ms. Crane’s, so the author tries to cram her entire life into one fairly short book.  Ms. Crane also is guilty of being too realistic.  Real life can be boring at times, and Crane’s desire to tell the unvarnished story is the result.

I’m not rating this book, because I’m not sure that I’m the target audience for it.

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