Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A French Girl on the Prairie - MR Fred Pirat

A French Girl on the Prairie
MR Fred Pirat

In 1910, at only 12 years old Marie Delos leaves Paris for Montana with her mother, having arranged to meet up with a cousin. She tells the story of her incredibly hard life, in the middle of a spectacular and dangerous land. An unusual and fascinating narrative set within French and American history. Includes original pictures taken in 1911.

Please Pass The Books Review:

Rating memoirs and biographies is really difficult, simply because it's someone's life story—and that makes it extremely personal (even if you don't know the person at all). I have been on a bit of a frontier rampage of late, gobbling up all the old west books and movies I can get my hands on. When A French Girl on the Prairie fell into my lap, I wanted so desperately to love it. Sadly, that wasn't the case.

That said, I have to give AFGOTP credit in two areas:

1. The story has been translated from French to English. It takes a beast of an author to attempt a translation, and this one was done without an abundance of weird spelling, grammatical, or other errors. On the flipside, the writing itself makes for some pretty dry material. The prose didn't suck me in and sing to me.

2. The pictures are glorious. Oh…my…gosh. From photos of the family's transatlantic crossing to those of Marie Delos (& co.) in Montana—wow. Those are the stuff of a great family history.

Where AFGOTP fails is in the storytelling itself. Again, we're on precarious ground here given that this is a retelling of a conversation the author had with Marie Delos in 1990, when she was in her nineties. It's hard to really say, "That lady who isn’t an author and just shared her experience needs to work on her storytelling skills." Still, I'm a reader and this is a book—a book written by an actual author, not Marie Delos. If there's not enough verve and panache to make it entertaining and engrossing, it's going to fall flat. And unfortunately, without any disrespect toward Delos' experience or memory, that's what happened here.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which this certainly is.

No comments:

Post a Comment