How Our Book Club Discussed a Book None of Us Finished

We ladies are pretty amazing. Sure, none of us got past page 217 of the 481-page book I chose for book club. But we talked about this book like wild, I tell you.
The book was Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.
Our book club is doing this thing where we each choose a book either about our birth year or published in our birth year. (I borrowed the idea from Neil Hollands, who suggested in on Book Club Buzz.) Occasionally we like to do a theme sort of a thing, our book club does.
So here’s the deal about Bury My Heart:
We all completely get the importance of this book, especially when it emerged back in that wonderful birth year of mine—when it really opened people’s eyes to what had happened to Native Americans in the 1800s. All the lies and broken treaties and brutality and being forced off the land they knew.
But we all just plodded (partway) through it in a state of mild agony. In part, of course, because the subject matter is painful.
But also because the writing style is really not very energetic.
Guys, I’m just gonna say it: The writing is dull.
Dude’s taken crazy-interesting and provocative subject matter and managed to make it a hard slog to read.
I reached page 190 before bailing. My plan at that point was to read the last chapter, just to see how he wrapped it all up. Got one page into the last chapter and just gave up. I had one of those “life is short” moments and gave myself the OK to bail.
Hampton Sides wrote a wonderful Foreword to the book, which probably also led to my feeling of letdown about Brown’s prose style. It just didn’t reach the level of vibrancy of the Foreword.
But our book club sure talked about the book. There’s plenty of stuff to discuss, even when we’d each read only about half of it. Also, we could discuss why we couldn’t bear to continue to read to the end. (Though one of my friends says she’s gonna do it. She was an English major and is made of stern stuff.)
But for me, I’m chalking up one more in the DNF files.

4 thoughts on “How Our Book Club Discussed a Book None of Us Finished

  1. Bybee — Oh, maybe it was just me being ornery. You might like it or love Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Sometimes I get all cranky and should be ignored. Read on, brave reader!
    : )

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