Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Birth House by Ami McKay

The usual preface: I'm not a book review site. If you want honest, nice, snark or a rating, go see Smart Bitches, Mrs. Giggles, Dear Author, Karen Scott, Romance Divas, etc...

Book 21 in the 50 Book Challenge:

The last page in Ami McKay's The Birth House was turned at 2AM yesterday morning. Yes, I'm tired, but the few hours of lost sleep was worth it. The story is a snapshot of life in Scots Bay, Nova Scotia in the years before, during and after WWI. The central theme, I would say, is about the friendship of women, how we provide strength, knowledge and companionship to each other during good times and bad, and how we inevitably band together as sisters when our ways are threatened. Goodness, I just read that sentence back and I haven't really done the story any justice. Dora Rare, the protaginist, is trained as a midwife/healer in a time when science and medicine are becoming popular. Many begin to distrust her methods thanks to a pushy doctor who blames all the ills of women on hysteria and neurosis. Actual medical journals are excerpted (is that even a word?). It's amazing to me, in light of their disgusting misinformation, that more men weren't murdered in their sleep back in those days. How our female ancestors put up with the ignorance of the male species (and accompanying crap!) for so long amazes me. Honestly, it's a bloody wonder we're not a race of cloned lesbians...

But I digress.

I liked this book. It's full of raw emotion, the sadness and joys of being a woman, the struggle of our foremothers, the forebearance of the human race. It reminded me a little of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent.

But... the entire time, I couldn't help but compare it to Ann Marie MacDonald's award winning book Fall on Your Knees, which was also set in Eastern Canada in the early 1900's, but was superior in story and writing. The Birth House was a good book, Fall On Your Knees was a GREAT book. Had I been aware of the similarities, I wouldn't have read them so close together because I don't think I was able to give The Birth House a fair shake.


Seriously, don't read my upcoming book Destiny By Design after a pulizer winning novel, okay?? Perhaps I'll distribute copies of 'The Book So Awful It Shall Not Be Named' to everyone on May 15th, just so mine will look like a literary gem in comparison.


Go buy The Birth House.

9 comments:

Robyn Mills said...

Wylie,
It was super to meet you yesterday and to see the cover of your book. I enjoyed the Red Tent but haven't read the other two. I see you also liked the movie The Red Violin....it starts off with a birth too. A powerful movie.

Wylie Kinson said...

Hi Robyn -- it was super meeting you too! I highly recommend both, to be honest, but read Fall... first. Or space them apart *LOL*

I own very few DVD's cause I don't really watch many movies twice, but the Red Violin is always welcome in my player. The music is so beautiful!! The stories are powerful and tie together so beautifully at the end (which I totally saw coming the first time I saw the movie - did you?)but I won't say anymore lest I spoil it for another.

Kristy said...

I need to add this one to my TBR list. I think you are the third person I know who has read it recently. I need to read Fall on your Knees first. It's been on my shelf for at leat a year now.

Christine said...

I so want to read the "So Bad It Cannot Be Named" book. Call me a sucker for punishment. :)

I can't wait to read yours!

Nicholas said...

I wasn't in the blogging community last March so I didn't see your post about That Book until just now. Now I really want to know what it is.

Thomma Lyn said...

I haven't read The Red Tent but it's on my TBR list. It sounds wonderful. And I'll have to get hold of Fall On Your Knees and Birth House.

And LMAO @ "race of cloned lesbians"! :-D

Maureen McGowan said...

I've been wanting to read that book.... Now I will for sure. (and dying to know what the book too bad to be named is... e-mail me.)

Wylie Kinson said...

I almost wish I never said anything about "The Book So Bad It Can Not Be Named"... I didn't meant to peak everyone's curiosity, and as fellow writers, I hope you understand that I simple can't say the title or author's name because if there's one thing that's true -- it's a small small world... and sooner or later, paths would cross. And trust me, it's sooooo horribly written, I couldn't bear to put y'all thru the agony.

Maia said...

Fall on Your Knees is one of my favorites. I'll have to read The Birth House, now. Thanks for the recommendation.