the Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901
by Nancy E. Turner
Life on the early frontier told through the experiences of a determined and resourceful (or "headstrong") woman. The book opens when she is a teenager, and unfolds twenty more years in the Arizona Territories. What Sarah wants more than anything as a young woman is to gain some education. The book begins with awkward syntax and poor grammar (hence the title) then gradually becomes more polished as the protagonist herself learns and grows (rather like Flowers for Algernon, in that sense). I loved the scene where she had a wagon full of books she couldn't yet read, and argued their worth with a man who would trade her two horses for two books, so she could pull the wagon home. He saw no value in the books themselves, but instantly realized she did, and held onto them for years. This man was a calvary officer she later fell in love with, while married to a man she did not love... These Is My Words is a pretty good story, and I enjoyed it, even while suffering constant mockery- my husband made fun of the title every time he saw the book. I have just discovered there are two sequels, Sarah's Quilt, and The Star Garden. All the novels in the Sarah Prine series are based on journals written by the author's great-grandmother. For a similar book, take a look at Faith and Betrayal by Sally Denton, also based on the diary of a pioneer ancestor, but written as a factual account.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 384 pages, 1998
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