I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book but I found it an enjoyable read and would recommend it to others.
The first Native American to graduate from Harvard - in 1665. Friendship amid two very different cultures; compellingly drawn picture of Martha's Vineyard in the early Colonial period.
Definitely a skilled writer with imagination coupled with good research who knows how to make an interesting storyline punctuated with enough fact, drama and romance to tow the reader along.
Will definitely try her other novels.
Geraldine Brooks has to be one of the finest writers of our time. Her writing fully immerses her readers into worlds set in centuries past, and she manages to do so in a form that is truthful to the time and place of the book's setting. She gives us a glimpse into the lives of characters who are true to their time (and not modernized versions). Brooks' novels often explore the religious beliefs of the day, and often from the perspective of women.
"Caleb's Crossing" is based around the story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, of the Wampanoag tribe--the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University. True to Brooks' storytelling style, though, the book follows a young woman, in this case, the fictional Bethia, a young Puritan girl who befriends Caleb as a child and who finds her life intertwined with his after her minister father decides to help educate Caleb so he can go to the Indian School at Harvard. Bethia is a natural learner, but is a female, and therefore, although she takes in as much knowledge as she can, she knows her life is restricted to that of serving as a wife and mother and running a household.
I very much enjoyed following Bethia on her journey from Martha's Vineyard, to Cambridge, and beyond. Every time I picked up the book, I felt drawn into her world (and so grateful for the freedoms I have that she was denied!)
With that said, the book was not the fastest read. And I can't say I felt as compelled to pick it up as often as I would like a book to do for me. But all-in-all, I enjoyed it, and came away with a bit more knowledge of my country's history.
Author Geraldine Brooks is an amazing writer of historical fiction. In this novel she creates a fictional friend of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, to tell a story of what it may have been like in the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Bethia Mayfield educates herself in two by eavesdropping on her brother's lessons with her missionary father and through secret meetings with her friend Cheeshahteaumuck, the son of a Wampanoag leader. I had to stay up all night to finish reading this.
This was captivating historical fiction from a girls diary perspective. I would've preferred it to be about fiction with a happy ending instead of the white patrons proving they could train this primitive savage (spelled salvage in the book-like some kind of salvage operation). Caleb's dream to help his own people/tribe was not realized because he died of malnutrition, cold and prejudice. Reflects history but did not make for a good ending.
Wonderful beginning, great story until the last quarter, then I was slammed to the ground wondering if someone had glued the last pages to a different book into my book! I had to read the other comments on this website to see if i was alone in my thinking! Very dissappointed!!! I loved Year of Wonders! Looks like i need to try People of the Book.
This is a good read. The author writes her ideas on the lives of the first two known Native American scholars to attend what would become Harvard University. This is seen through the perspective of Bethia who is a resident of English background living on an island settlement on the Great Harbor. Bethia is a strong-willed character who strives for an education. Along the way she picks up on a fair amount of knowledge. Later in the book she is able to even learn some of what the university scholars receive by working in the cook's kitchen and keeping an attentive ear to the door. Caleb (0riginally called Cheeshateaumauk), is in line towards becoming the next leader of his tribe but through his friendship with Bethia and her father (who seeks on converting the Native inhabitants of the island) he starts on an English education and soon eventually converts to Christianity. Joel is another Native inhabitant who takes a similar path. Even in the face of opposition from other people solely on their being Native people, Joel and Caleb obtains great successes in their English education. This story has it's share of tragedy but the characters and the story makes for an interesting read.
Brooks has a talent for making history come alive, with deft use of period vocabulary and nuanced portrayals of historical cultures and communities. She's also not afraid to tackle huge issues: in this case the racism of early English colonial settlements in New England, and the patriarchal stifling of women's abilities and educational opportunities. The story follows a teenage girl in 17th-century Martha's Vineyard as she navigates her feelings for a local Wampanoag youth and her resentment at being denied access to education. The characters are complex and richly crafted, with thoughtful exploration of their relationships and emotions. Readers may be put off by the sometimes over-eager voice of the teenage narrator, but her story consistently demands attention.
Not my favorite story of this favorite writer - that is Year of Wonders. How she finds voice to each era of story amazes me. Meticulous researcher in all she writes.
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