Thursday, December 01, 2011

Scribbling Women

"Scribbling Women": True Tales from Astonishing Lives Marthe Jocelyn

Scribbling Women takes a look at a selection of female writers and why their words were important, and why they remain important. What I most love about this book is how Jocelyn defines "writers." While there are a few novelists discussed, this book tends to look at women whose words made a mark in something other than fiction.

Margaret Catchpole was a horse thief sentenced to Australian transport. Her letters back to England are the major primary source of life in the early days of the Australian colony.

Mary Kingsey was an adventurer who explored Africa-- all while wearing her proper Victorian dress. (All those petticoats saved her when she fell into a tiger trap!)

Isabella Beeton wrote the first housekeeping manual and popularized a recipe format we now think as standard (ingredients first, then steps, time to complete and how many people it will serve.)

Ada Blackjack was the only survivor of a failed Arctic expedition. Her journal tells us what happened.

Many more women are discussed and represented here, making for a fascinating read. They come from all over the world and all points in time. Some of the chapters are a little weaker than others but I appreciated Jocelyn introducing me to these women’s voices and their lives. It might require a bit of a hard hand-sell to get teens to read it, but once they start, I think they’ll find it interesting.

Book Provided by... my local library

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