Monday, October 30, 2017

The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren, 2011

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A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can't quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston's marriage. After twenty-five years, they're contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn't remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What's more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can't remember? Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future?
(344 pages)

The Shadow of Your Smile has a nice premise (very similar to a movie that came out a few years ago, right?), and I thought it was pretty well done. I liked the idea of a ruined marriage being "restarted" with the wife's sudden amnesia, even if the possibility of such amnesia is scientifically iffy. It's rather sad to watch Noelle realize that she gave up all of her dreams of pursuing her art and establishing a career, and that she's just an average housewife now. The cynical part of me wonders whether there's some sort of sexist reason she's not working, because it's not like she's staying home to homeschool her kids or something that would actually prevent her from working during the day, but I don't think that's where my mind is supposed to go with this scenario. I can't say I really agree that her husband is such a catch, because he does a lot of things I'm not really a fan of, but I suppose she's looking for something different from what I would want in her shoes.

There are several side plots that I liked better than the main one, including Noelle's grown son's growing romance with a childhood acquaintance and the family's attempts to move past the brutal death of Noelle and Eli's daughter, Kelsey. The storyline about Kelsey is actually my favorite, just because it's so brutal and honest and real. Reading about the parts where the family is remember (or, in Noelle's case, forgetting) Kelsey is heartbreaking. The rest of the book is kind of soft and cheesy in comparison.

And also really cheesy. Keep in mind that the cheese levels in The Shadow of Your Smile are practically out of the roof. It was an entertaining read that passed a few nice hours, though, and I'm glad I took the time to give it a try. Sometimes a fluffy, clean, slightly cheesy romance novel is just what the doctor ordered.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the Tyndale Rewards program (click here to check it out–by using my link you'll get 25 credits, which is enough to get a book).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lucky in Love by Kasie West, 2017

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In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

(333 pages)

Wow. This book is just so darned cute! Why did no one tell me to read a Kasie West novel before now?! I'm so glad its cover and description caught my attention enough to make me send off a request for it to Scholastic, because Lucky in Love was exactly the fluffy and innocent, though still realistic and thought-provoking, book that I needed to read this summer.

Because seriously, how could I not pick up a book about a girl who wins the lottery and falls in love with the one guy who's oblivious to her windfall?! This book lives up to its promise, offering interesting and compatible main love interests and a lottery story that could honestly have filled a whole book by itself without the romance even showing up.

But who am I kidding? The romance is my favorite part! I love that Maddie and Seth are legitimate friends and coworkers long before they start to become anything else, and that their relationship develops very organically from that relationship. I couldn't care less about physical chemistry (i.e. lust between two characters), because that tells me nothing about their suitability for each other as life partners. But when they're bonding over their shared love for animals, then I definitely start shipping.

Lest you accuse me of giving a biased review, though, I should discuss the cons of the book. There are a few minor ones, but only one that truly bugged me: Maddie's academic life. As a recently-graduated senior who has just finished four extremely rigorous years of high school, including a year and a half of standardized testing/college applications, I could totally tell that West didn't do her homework on, well, anything when it came to Maddie's college application. Maddie and all of her friends take it as a given that of course she'll get into every good school in California (including Stanford and UCLA). Her best friend literally starts this big campaign to convince Maddie to come to Stanford with her in the fall . . . before either of them has gotten an admission letter. There's no one alive who can be that confident in their admission chances to Stanford unless Stanford is their last name or they literally cured cancer (preferably both). If Maddie were a real high school senior, she and her friends would know this. Also, if she were such a shoe-in for such high-ranking schools, she would totally have way more extracurriculars than just working at the zoo.

I'm sorry if it seems like I'm nitpicking, I just thought this was all kind of frustrating because I was in Maddie's shoes–and frankly, probably had an application stronger than hers would have been from what we read in the book–but I was far from a shoe-in at any of the schools she applied to. And also, no one–and I mean literally no one–cares if you get a B or two in the second semester of senior year. Once the decisions are out, they are out. Period. Unless you suddenly flunk out of high school or something equally dramatic. And throwing a wild party or two will not get you blacklisted by any university, either.

Okay, okay, now I'm done. The academic stuff bugs me more and more as I sit here thinking about it, but it's not really that big a deal in the context of the book. The focus is truly on Maddie's struggles to adjust to her fame/fortune and to tangle out her feelings toward Seth. It's such an adorable story, and I really loved it. If you're in the mood for a fun romance, then I definitely recommend it.

Also, I recently picked up another one of West's books, P.S. I Like You, practically by accident. I can't go into it much here, but needless to say that it was also adorable and I actually liked it even more than Lucky in Love!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Whistling in the Dark by Shirley Hughes, 2015

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"Well-written and well worth reading." The Bookseller. Liverpool, 1940: thirteen-year-old Joan’s home is under threat from the Nazi’s terrifying nightly air-raids. It is not an easy time to be a teenager, especially with the sweet rationing, strict curfews and blackouts. Joan and best friend Doreen love going to the cinema until the bombings intensify and then even that becomes too dangerous, especially when an army deserter is found lurking near their home. Who is he and why does he think Joan can help him? As the Blitz worsens, Joan and her friends make a discovery that will tear the whole community apart…
(240 pages)

I've read a lot of historical fiction book centered around WWII, and they all take a slightly different angle on the terrible time. A lot of them involve the homefront in some way, so I was a little worried that Whistling in the Dark would struggle to carve its own unique spot in the literature, but I needn't have worried.

One thing I didn't know going into the book is that the author, Shirley Hughes, actually lived through WWII as a teenager living in Liverpool (the town where the book is set). I think that detail adds a little spark to the story that many other books about the time period don't have, just because we know the author really knows what she's talking about when she describes life there at the time.

And really, though it's a little book, there's quite a lot going on. I don't really want to go into the individual plotlines very much, because there would be lots of spoilers, but suffice it to say that Joan is confronted with issues ranging from personal/familial crises to meeting a loner refugee girl in school who doesn't speak English to dealing with the army deserter who is lurking around. They're all resolved in satisfactory and interesting ways, and I really liked reading about it.

Honestly, with all the amazing WWII books out there, I can't say that Whistling in the Dark stands out from the crowd a huge amount. But it's a good book, especially for younger readers who aren't prepared for the full horror of, say, a European Jewish girl's experiences during the war, and I for one really liked it. If you read it, please let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar, 2017

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Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate’s heart of gold?

Thrilling sea adventure takes on a hint of steampunk in the second book by the author of the acclaimed Hour of the Bees.

When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief — and guilt. It was a submarine of Fidelia’s invention that her parents were in when they died, and it was she who pressed them to stay out longer when the raging Undertow was looming. But Fidelia is forced out of her mourning when she’s kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous, a pirate whose list of treasons stretches longer than a ribbon eel. Her task? Use her marine know-how to retrieve his treasure, lost on the ocean floor. But as Fidelia and the pirates close in on the prize, with the navy hot on their heels, she realizes that Merrick doesn’t expect to live long enough to enjoy his loot. Could something other than black-hearted greed be driving him? Will Fidelia be able to master the perils of the ocean without her parents — and piece together the mystery of Merrick the Monstrous before it’s too late?

(432 pages)

First I just want to say that Race to the Bottom of the Sea was actually really good. I didn't know exactly what it was going in–I knew lots of water was involved, and was actually envisioning a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-esque submarine–but the whimsical description drew me to the book to try it out in the first place. And I'm glad I did!

You'd think that this would be a really sad and depressing book considering how much death appears/is mentioned, but it's actually not. It's an entertaining read that becomes rather serious and thoughtful, but never painful to read. My younger sister is an extraordinarily picky reader (and basically sticks mainly to nonfiction books about animals), but she voluntarily borrowed Race to the Bottom of the Sea from me and downed the whole thing in a couple of days. I think that in and of itself says a lot about the book's reception by its target audience.

As for me, while I did enjoy Race to the Bottom of the Sea, I had a little bit of a harder time suspending my disbelief long enough to accept the pseudo-science plot contrivances and the usual "genius-inventor child" trope that pops up in a lot of children's books. I liked Fidelia fine, and normally she struck me as a very nice, normal girl, but her inventions were frankly pretty ridiculous.

But really, the book has everything a child could want from a story involving pirates and treasure troves (and, of course, several foes). It's a lot more palatable for sensitive readers than, say, Treasure Island but it still doesn't speak down to them. I recommend it for pretty much anyone who is looking for a pirate-y book and who doesn't mind a certain amount of death (including parental death/grieving in the beginning of the book!).

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Nutcracker Mice by Kristin Kladstrup, 2017

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Hidden in Saint Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theater are the world's tiniest ballet fans: the Mariinsky mice, including Esmeralda, a rising dancer in the Russian Mouse Ballet Company. Despite being unable to control her tail, Esmeralda has just been assigned the lead role of Clara in a ballet debuting at Christmas: The Nutcracker. But when she learns that the new ballet features mice as villains, her excitement turns to horror: the mice of Saint Petersburg will never come to see such a production. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Irina is convinced that the mice she's seen in the Mariinsky -- the mice her father, the custodian, is supposed to exterminate -- are not only fans of the ballet, but dancers themselves. No one will believe her, so it falls to Irina to help save the mice everyone else considers vermin . . . and perhaps to help Esmeralda ensure the future of the mouse company. Sweet and inventive, Kristin Kladstrup's ballet fantasy features artwork by beloved illustrator Brett Helquist, old-fashioned drama, and just a touch of holiday magic.
(336 pages)

This is the sort of cozy book I would have devoured as a little girl. There's something so appealing about a story set in a far-off country (in this case Russia) during a far-away time (1892) that features anthropomorphic creatures (ballet-dancing talking mice!). Add all the dancing and ballet details to that, plus the one human girl who suspects the truth about the mice, and it's even more absorbing. In addition to all that, the scenario of mice preparing to perform The Nutcracker during its first human performance adds a delicious familiarity and Christmas feeling to the story because I attended performances of The Nutcracker almost every year when I was small.

Thus, before I even try to analyze The Nutcracker Mice objectively, I have to just say that I fell in love with the simple magic the story offers. After so many YA novels and adult nonfiction books, I needed to reading something so simple and pure as The Nutcracker Mice. It felt like a breath of fresh air.

Now, as for the story itself. First you have to get past the implausibility of the idea that mice are not only intelligent, human-like creatures who put on elaborate productions using the music played during the human performances, but also that all the theater mice are trained to read and understand both Russian and French. For some, I suppose that could be a pretty big hurdle; as for me, I counted it as part of the story's charm. I thought it was interesting that Esmerelda is an adult in the story because normally children's books feature protagonists who are in middle school. It made the (pretty slight) romance much stronger, in my opinion, and also made Esmerelda's adventures much more above-board and legit–she wasn't lying to any parents or sneaking out after hours, for example. It was also a little disconcerting, though, because I kept forgetting she was older until random moments when something would remind me.

I also really liked the bits of the story about Irina, the girl who spots Esmerelda practicing her ballet moves one day. She's written very realistically, and the drama surrounding her father's job is very well done.

Honestly, I have a hard time being very objective about The Nutcracker Mouse. It may not be perfect, or unpredictable, but it's a good solid book that I enjoyed and that I know for a fact I would have been completely in love with even a few years ago. If you know a kid with a fanciful imagination, then The Nutcracker Mouse would be a wonderful present for them–especially now while we're close to Christmas time!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sinking the Sultana by Sally M. Walker, 2017

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The worst maritime disaster in American history wasn't the Titanic. It was the steamboat Sultana on the Mississippi River -- and it could have been prevented.

In 1865, the Civil War was winding down and the country was reeling from Lincoln's assassination. Thousands of Union soldiers, released from Confederate prisoner-of-war camps, were to be transported home on the steamboat
Sultana. With a profit to be made, the captain rushed repairs to the boat so the soldiers wouldn't find transportation elsewhere. More than 2,000 passengers boarded in Vicksburg, Mississippi . . . on a boat with a capacity of 376. The journey was violently interrupted when the boat's boilers exploded, plunging the Sultana into mayhem; passengers were bombarded with red-hot iron fragments, burned by scalding steam, and flung overboard into the churning Mississippi. Although rescue efforts were launched, the survival rate was dismal -- more than 1,500 lives were lost. In a compelling, exhaustively researched account, renowned author Sally M. Walker joins the ranks of historians who have been asking the same question for 150 years: who (or what) was responsible for the Sultana's disastrous fate?
(208 pages)

Going into this book, I knew absolutely nothing about the Sultana. I had just finished studying AP US History, but our coverage of the Civil War remained focused on the big things–the politics, the generals, and the major battles. The sinking of the Sultana may have been terrible for the people who experienced it (as well as for the friends and families who lost loved ones on it), but it had no real lasting impression on the course of American history.

But still. I can't believe I'd literally never learned anything about the Sultana before. I used to be obsessed with the Titanic, yet I'd never heard of the largest American maritime disaster?

Anyway, on to the book itself. It's a good length, long enough to include lots of interesting details but not so long as to bore readers who are new to the subject. The first few chapters set the stage, introducing us to some of the prisoners of war and the squalid conditions they were subjected to, before moving on to the end of the war and the liquidation of the prison camps. There were some politics involved with the ships, some pressure placed on the men in authority to pack the Sultana as full as they possibly could as opposed to moving some of the men to other ships.

Then there's the description of the actual disaster, which is simply brutal. I had tears in my eyes reading about all the gruesome scenes that confronted the survivors, all the people–including innocent children–who died horrible deaths that night. It was a terrible scene, a truly horrific one, and I still can't believe that I never knew anything about it before now. I'm sad to have read the book in a way, because it was so horrifying, but also glad that I did and learned about this little-known dark moment in my nation's history.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Giving Heart: A Coloring Book Celebrating Motherhood by Stephanie Corfee, 2017

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A beautiful artist-drawn coloring book with Scripture created to encourage, inspire, and delight Christian mothers.
This beautifully rendered adult coloring book will offer Christian moms a perfect way to enjoy moments of peaceful creativity as they color 46 gorgeously intricate pictures and meditate upon God's word. Filled with lovely botanical scenes, charming designs, and intricate patterns, the images and words of this book will remind mothers of their special place in the hearts of their loved ones and the wonderful purpose God created in them.

(96 pages)

Honestly, I think I–like everyone else–am finally falling out of love with the adult coloring book fad.

Before and after

Actually, if we're being completely honest here, I don't think I ever really was in love with adult coloring books. I just decided I should be because everyone else was, and I amassed a lot of pretty coloring books with the mindset of "I'm sure I'll get around to coloring these eventually." Which is ridiculous, because I have a permanent injury in my dominant wrist that makes repetitive writing/coloring literally painful for me.

I suppose that explains why I took so long to review A Giving Heart: I had to convince myself to color a page of it. And don't get me wrong, the designs are very pretty; there are lots of flowers and vases and women with pretty hair that exude an aura of peace whenever I look at them. But I just don't have the stamina (or the patience) to sit and color every single little design in a complex picture. I just don't. I think, if I'm going to keep coloring, I need to go back to kid coloring books because that's basically where my attention span is at right now.

You can see a little bit of
But I'm sorry, let me get into reviewing the coloring book for those of you who are actually interested in it. I do like a lot of the pictures (though quite a few of them–especially the quotes–are "churchy" enough that they wouldn't really do for a non-Christian audience), and the complexity is really not as bad as it's been in some of the other coloring books I've seen. My biggest issue with the book itself is probably its paper quality: I color with thin markers, and the back side of the pages I've colored are dark with the colors I used and have actually bled through in the spots where my markers rested. The paper has also gotten a little warped from the coloring, almost as though it's slightly water-stained. I really don't know why the publisher didn't invest in some thicker, pricier paper to ensure the book could actually be used for its intended purpose.

But then, you could always scan the pictures and color them on a fresh sheet of paper. This would keep the book pristine for multiple uses, too. If I were more serious about coloring, that's probably what I would do.

But I'm not, so I suppose I'll end this review now since I'm already out of stuff to say about the book. I hope my thoughts have been at least a little bit helpful. If you do decide to buy and color the book, be sure to show us pictures of the pages you complete!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone, 2017

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“Is there a secret to happiness?” asks comedian Paula Poundstone. "I don’t know how or why anyone would keep it a secret. It seems rather cruel, really . . . Where could it be? Is it deceptively simple? Does it melt at a certain temperature? Can you buy it? Must you suffer for it before or after?” In her wildly and wisely observed book, the comedy legend takes on that most inalienable of rights—the pursuit of happiness.

Offering herself up as a human guinea pig in a series of thoroughly unscientific experiments, Poundstone tries out a different get-happy hypothesis in each chapter of her data-driven search. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter, and commits to getting her house organized (twice!). Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? You may be laughing too hard to care.

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a single working mother of three children (not to mention dozens of cats, a dog, a bearded dragon lizard, a lop-eared bunny, and one ant left from her ant farm) who is just trying to keep smiling while living a busy life.

The queen of the skepticism-fueled rant, Paula Poundstone stands alone in her talent for bursting bubbles and slaying sacred cows.

Like George Carlin, Steve Martin, and David Sedaris, she is a master of her craft, and her comedic brilliance is served up in abundance in this book. As author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. notes, “Paula Poundstone deserves to be happy. Nobody deserves to be this funny.”

(288 pages)

I don't usually go for self-help books, because the advice they offer isn't really that helpful for me. And I struggle sometimes to get into reading memoirs by comedians because they wind up being way less funny on paper than they are in person.

I took the leap with The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, though, because I didn't know Poundstone's work well enough to be offended if the book didn't live up to it, but I knew that she must be pretty funny since she's a panelist on Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me, and because I loved the idea of watching someone else's journey to seeking happiness rather than having someone lecture me about the "one true way" for me to achieve true happiness.

And let me just say first that Paula Poundstone is absolutely hilarious. Her descriptions of life as a mother to three children are so realistic they're almost painfully funny, and the images she paints of her efforts in her various classes and endeavors had me literally laughing out loud.

I liked the techniques she decided to try, too: exercising, learning to use a computer, cleaning out her house, renting a sports car for a day, spending quality time with her pets and walking around hugging strangers are all good ideas. If I had her resources (or, more accurately, her lack of concern about debt), then I would probably try some of them, too!

Poundstone wrote the book over the course of about seven years, during which time two of her kids went off to college. I loved all the details we got about her kids. What did rub me a little bit the wrong way, though, was Poundstone's complete hate for the use of technology in education and the extreme lengths she wound up going to get her son away from the influence of computers and violent video games. As a homeschool graduate who took ten online AP courses over the four years of high school, I have to say that I really don't agree with Poundstone's determination to vilify all uses of technology when it comes to schooling. It's especially puzzling when she also admits to spending lots of time on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail (while telling her kids they shouldn't be on the computer at all), and when she said she carefully limits her children's screen time. If she was really putting limits on their computer time or checking their video games to make sure they weren't disgusting, then why is her son struggling so much with an addiction to violent video games?

Also, the language in this book is pretty bad. The f-word is scattered in probably a few times every chapter, and Poundstone occasionally makes cracks about her own asexuality or the frequency with which males (including, she assumes, her son) think sexual thoughts. Ew.

Other than that, though, I really did enjoy The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. If you don't mind the language and off-color jokes, and you're interesting in reading about one hilarious single mother's journey to finding human happiness, then this might be the book for you. If you decide to read it, I promise you'll laugh out loud at least once.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Remember the Ladies by Angela P. Dodson, 2017

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2017 begins the centennial celebrations of women first winning the right to vote, culminating in national suffrage three years later. This book documents the milestones in that hard won struggle and reflects on women's impact on politics since.

From the birth of our nation to the recent crushing defeat of the first female presidential candidate, this book highlights women's impact on United States politics and government. It documents the fight for women's right to vote, drawing on historic research, biographies of leaders, and such original sources as photos, line art, charts, graphs, documents, posters, ads, and buttons. It presents this often-forgotten struggle in an accessible, conversational, relevant manner for a wide audience. Here are the groundbreaking convention records, speeches, newspaper accounts, letters, photos, and drawings of those who fought for women's right to vote, all in their own words, arranged to convey the inherent historical drama. The accessible almanac style allows this entertaining history speak for itself. It is full of little-known facts. For instance: When the Constitutional Convention of the thirteen colonies convened to draft the Constitution, Abigail Adams admonished her husband John Adams to "remember the ladies" (write rights for women into the Constitution!). Important for today's discussions, REMEMBER THE LADIES does not extract women's suffrage from the inseparable concurrent historic endeavors for emancipation, immigration, and temperance. Its robust research documents the intersectionality of women's struggle for the vote in its true context with other progressive efforts.
(448 pages)

As a young American woman in the 21st century, I take my right to vote for granted. My ability to participate in politics, whether through voting or campaigning or running for office, is such an obvious right that I struggle to imagine a time when I wouldn't have been able to even speak in public before men.

I suppose that's a sign of how far we've come, right? I don't usually like to think about that, though, because it makes me strangely uncomfortable to think that I would have been considered a second-class citizen even a hundred years ago. My great-grandmother was twenty years old when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed giving her the right to vote. Twenty! That's just inconceivable to me.

The entire focus of Remember the Ladies is on detailing the fight for woman's rights. It includes descriptions of the small attempts made in the country's early years, focuses mainly on the 70+ year battle for enfranchisement/legal rights, and then discusses the roles modern women play in politics. It's the historical details that I find so fascinating, and which are so crucial for me to learn about. I don't really agree with Dodson that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election because she's a woman–I'd guess it has more to do with how wildly unlikeable she is and how strictly conservative a lot of Americans are–but that is literally my only complaint about Dodson's viewpoint. In the rest of the book, she does a very good job describing all the different suffragists and their organizations, conflicts, splits, allies, and conflicting causes (as issues like temperance and abolitionism alternately aided and undermined the fight for suffrage).

I mean, the suffrage movement lasted over seventy years. As Dodson herself points out, that is a very long time for a single movement. It progressed in clunky fits and starts at first, but it made it to victory despite the chaotic (and pressing!) distractors of the Civil War, Reconstruction, anti-immigration sentiment, and World War I. It's amazing to read about all the strands of activism that wove themselves through the background of U.S. history until the suffragist movement finally achieved its main goal. And I think it's important for me to read a book like Remember the Ladies once in a while so I can appreciate all the people in the past who fought for rights that I take for granted today.

Actually, I think everyone should read a book like Remember the Ladies once in a while, be they male or female. It's good for all of us to get a reality check now and again, to gain an appreciation for how far gender equality has progressed in just the last 100 years.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.