How the meme works
Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain. You can read all the details HERE at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
The Starting Book
“I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.” In True History of the Kelly Gang, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.
I have not read this book and probably won’t be reading it. I had enough Westerns and that sort of story when my Dad was alive, well, and in command of the tv to last me a lifetime!
I’m starting with the first book that comes to mind. In this case it is a favorite of my Dad’s, True Grit (though he knew the John Wayne film–not sure if he ever read the book). Mattie is 14 to Ned Kelly’s 12 when she is orphaned. She and U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn hunt down his killer. Some similarities in the stories.
A book I know my Dad read that has a John Wayne/Western-ish topic (and a very serious topic) is Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown. It presented a very different version of the West from the John Wayne one. It was possibly the first book to tell the truth about what the United States did to the Native American population.
A novel that deals with U.S. “Indian” policy in a different way–the institutionalization of children to force them to “assimilate” is This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (link is to my review).
Another population treated badly by U.S. policy are the incarcerated–especially African American men. In this novel they are young men sentenced to “reform school” in Florida. The Nickel School has a lot in common with the School in This Tender Land. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (link is to my review).
Nanci Kincaid’s novel has a link with incarceration in the state of Florida–a chain gang member who befriends a young girl. (My review was lost on my old blog). As Hot as it Was You Out to Thank Me by Nanci Kincaid is just $1.99 for Kindle right now.
Rory’s life isn’t that much like Berry’s in As Hot As it Was, but it also isn’t that much different. I’d put money on someone in that trailer park or in Rory’s family being in prison or just out of prison. Certainly someone has seen the inside of a jail cell. Plus it’s in Nevada where a lot of John Wayne movies could have been set and might have been film. That’s almost full circle! Girlchild: A Novel by Tupelo Hassman (link is to my review).
Why not join in the Six Degrees fun next month when we will start our chains with Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason which, for once, I just bought.