Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Letters of a Woman Homesteader (Elinore Pruitt Stewart)

Letters of a Woman Homesteader
Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Public Domain Books
Nonfiction, Autobiography
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: In 1909, widow Elinore Pruitt and her young daughter Jerrine head to the Wyoming frontier to try their hands at homesteading. In a series of letters to her former employer, Elinore describes the hardships and wonders of her new life.

REVIEW: These letters serve as a window on a lost world, the American frontier of the early twentieth century. Elinore is everything a pioneer should be: resourceful, resilient, independent, outspoken, and blessed with a fair helping of raw luck. Some of her ideas seem remarkably modern - such as her oft-repeated declaration that women shouldn't be afraid to make their own fortune, instead of living at the whim of employers - while others root her firmly in her era. She describes many interesting characters, most of whom would be right at home in Hollywood Westerns. Being merely selections from a much larger body of work, there are some jumps in time and events, glossing over large sections of her life and work. It also ends randomly, with little sense of conclusion. Still, I found it intriguing and educational.

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