Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Friendly Persuasion

I'm reviewing an old favorite today.  I've been doing more wander-y reading recently, with less intentional library book reading.  More poor library loot pile is suffering.  So, instead of reading Introverts in the Church like I had planned, I'm reading The Friendly Persuasion for the third (or maybe fourth) time.  Jessamyn West, the author of The Friendly Persuasion is a wonderful author.  I have loved everything I ever read by her and we even named one of the lambs after her.

A Friendly Persuasion is the story of Jess and Eliza Birdwell, a Quaker couple in Indiana during the Civil War.  Eliza is a non-nonsense, practical minister.  Jess runs a nursery and has a bit of a hot temper.   His love of horses and music is decidedly not Quaker and gets him into some trouble.  They have several children, all of whom are likable and entertaining.  Each chapter is a stand-alone story of some experience, most of them told from Jess or Eliza's point of view.  From having one of their sons join the army to the organ that appears at their doorstep, thanks to Jess, the family is endears themselves to the reader almost instantly.

It's quite evident that Jessamyn West was writing from experience, not just writing a story.  She know her history and she knows what a busy, happy family looks like.  I love reading books like this that don't involve a lot of turmoil and distress, just happy family life with some misadventures along the way.  The other great thing about this book is how timeless it is.  Sure, it's set in the 1800s, but there is something that is so classic about the occurrences and the characters that I think appeals to a lot of people.
The movie.  Is this movie good, or annoying because
it isn't like the book?  I'd love to hear what you think about it.

This book is definitely not a book for a niche audience.  It's quite appropriate for even a family read-aloud, yet it can be enjoyed by pretty much any reader.  There are some slightly sad stories, but more often, there is lots of humor.  This book has also inspired me to look for another Jessamyn West book.  I bet that all of her writing is going to be just as enjoyable.

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