Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A Tale of Two Books

Two books that I just read.
Two books that are popular now.
Two books with intriguing premises.
Two books that take place in different countries, in different centuries.
Two books that made me think long after I closed the covers.
Two books with irritating male protagonists!

Daniel Grube, with his 5 children and newly-married 15-year-old wife, left Pennsylvania to look for a new home.
Daniel was unkind, unforgiving, unprepared.
Although he was an abolitionist, he just happened to buy a slave that he did not have the money to pay for.

Harold Fry received a message from a friend that he has not seen in 20 years that she was dying.  He told her to hang on, while he walked 600 miles, thinking that she would survive if he kept going.
Harold was also unprepared (walking in yachting shoes) .
He also was unkind in expecting Queenie to continue living for his sake.

Both books are written by women and I felt that both male protagonists embodied those characteristics that women dislike. Neither Daniel nor Harold would listen to advice and made irrational decisions, affecting many people negatively.  They were unloving and unkind.
My husband says that I should 'cut these guys a little slack'.  After all, maybe these irritating guys are the reason that I couldn't put the books down and couldn't forget them long after the books were read.


  1. My Mom just let me know about this blog. I'm going to be following with great interest now. At a quick glance, I see a lot of books that I've read recently. I'm commenting on this post because I think Harold Fry has been my favourite book so far this year. I've recommended it to lots of people. Looking forward to talking books with you online!

  2. Hi Sue,
    How wonderful that you visited my blog.
    My anger is with Harold because he expected Queenie to "hang on", while he took his good old time getting to her.
    As you know, Rob is very close to death and prolonging death is very upsetting to me. That aspect coloured my enjoyment of the book. The book became very person to me and I vented my concern with men think only of themselves and won't take advice (Harold was offered better equipment). Rob is showing that streak in refusing nurses while his sisters and ex are wearing out caring for him. Sorry to get so personal, but that's what books do, right? Lovely to hear from you.

  3. I have been so sorry to hear of Rob's failing health and can't imagine how difficult that has been for all of you.

    Of course that would colour how you interpret this book. Maybe for me right now it was comforting to see a man who finished what he started instead of quitting when things get hard, even if there were easier options along the way. I hadn't thought about it in those terms until I read your comment, but when I did, it made sense to me.