Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

This was okay, but a little too After-School-Special for my liking. A young Quaker woman comes to America from England in 1850 and finds the life and traditions very strange and hard to accept, especially the slavery. She tries to find strength in her faith but falls short and realizes she will have to think and act for herself. Although this book is ostensibly about the underground railroad, sewing seemed to play more of a roll with lengthy descriptions of sewing techniques and quilt patterns and bonnet making and I'm just not that crafty to follow or care. Harbouring runaway slaves is a much more interesting and compelling story but in this case seems to have been beside the point - it might just as well have been called The Last Quilter.

Anyway. The story and writing is good enough (I listened to this as an audiobook) but I would classify this as more YA. There really wasn't anything more challenging about it.
3 out of 5 stars?


JoAnn said...

It sure sounds like a YA title. I have an audio review copy here... I'll get to it eventually.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Audio sounds like a good way to engage with this one--I'm more forgiving with my audio books than I am with my book-books.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I really enjoyed this one, but your review is still spot on!

Debbie Rodgers said...

Although YA is not my preferred genre, it can be very enjoyable. Part of the trouble, I find, is when I go in expecting something "more", as you did here.

I do find that there is a greater blurring of lines now. I used to think YA was for 11-17 year-olds. Now I hear that the 20-somethings are being cultivated as a "Young Adult" market. (Although when I was in my 20s, I was married with a child, and I think I would have been insulted by some of the "fluff" and other "stuff" publishers seem to think appeals to people in their 20s today. Are younger generations really less mature now?

Anyway, you didn't invite a detailed discussion of this of generational maturity or marketing strategies, so I'll stop now. :-)

Trish said...

JoAnn - Yes, now that I look at it, even the cover itself looks YA.

Crowe - I realize now that I am more forgiving with audio too. There are types of books that are more enjoyable to listen to, where the story itself is better, perhaps, than the writing.

Sam & Debbie - I think I would have enjoyed it more had I known and been in the mood for YA. I find it can be a refreshing change of pace when I've been tackling some of the more complex writers.

It's funny you should mention 'blurring of lines' and YA marketing as it's something I've also been wondering about. So, yes, discuss away! I wonder, too, if it's all the competition out there for one's attention and time. I have more difficulty now keeping focused on my reading than I did back in the days before all the extra electronic noise and intrusion came storming onto the scene. I think new writers are probably just responding to this very different reading environment, which means it's ever more important to read reviews and excerpts before picking up a newly published book.

Harvee said...

The book does sound like a good historical novel for young people who could learn a little about the Quakers by reading it.

Trish said...

Yes, you are so right! There is something to be learned about the Quakers in this book. I spent many years in NC so I have a passable familiarity with this faith, but it was certainly interesting to learn some more about their history.