A Horse and his boy is just the beginning

Runaway Stallion by Walt Morey; 1973; $5.50; 217 pages; E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc, New York, NY; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 4/6/15-4/7/15

I had read Gentle Ben when I was in my teens and liked it a lot.  I found copies of it when my boys were younger and gave them each a copy of it.  I had never read anything else by Morey and when this came across my desk I decided I would read it.  Children’s book awards in the state of Oregon are named for Walt Morey, there is a school near here named for him and he lived in the area.  This is the story of a lad who’s family moves from the city to a small town outside Springfield, Oregon in the thirties or forties.  Kids still walk or ride their horses to school and attend a single room schoolhouse.  Into the small valley where Jeff lives comes a beautiful stallion that doesn’t seem to belong to anyone in the valley.  Jeff forms a bond with the stallion when he rescues him from a bog.  Jeff’s father insists on putting a advertisement in the paper to see if anyone claims the paper.  Jeff and his family have been outcast in the valley due to some misunderstandings amongst the close knit people of the valley.  Jeff and his family manage to find a way to break through the hard shell of the other people in the valley and Jeff gets a horse to call his own.

Grade-A 

Did I enjoy it?  The story of Jeff and the stallion was good but that was just a part of the story of the insular world of the valley and how Jeff and his parents deal with the people who have an incorrect perception of them.

What is with the title of the review?  Come in for the story of a boy and his horse and find a story about complex human relationships.

What’s there now?

Astoria, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Peter Stark; 2014; $27.99; 366 pages; Ecco, New York, NY; 978-0-06-221829-2; 978.02 S7956a; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 9/19/14-9/22/14

John Jacob Astor had a grand idea for global commerce, with trade routes from New York to the West Coast to China to London and back to New York.  New York, London and China were already established spots but he needed an outpost an outpost on the West Coast where he could easily acquire furs to trade with China.  He recruited two teams to make their way to the mouth of the Columbia River in the Northwest Territory one via sea and one overland.  Both teams faced tremendous adversity as they made their way to the Columbia, personality conflicts, hostile indigenous peoples and attitudes towards those indigenous people that made them more hostile.  Both groups arrived at the mouth of the Columbia badly depleted yet able to settle there, nothing great happened.  When the War of 1812 erupted, the settlement was taken over by the British traders with the help of the British Navy.  After awhile there was not much left of the settlement, evidently just enough that people continued to live there.

Grade-A-

Did I Enjoy It?  Pretty much, it was an enlightening look at a voyage and overland trip in a day when both were exceptionally arduous.

What is with the title of the review?  The story in the book ends with the decline of Astor’s initial settlement with no indication of what happened afterward, the only indication of the current city of Astoria, Oregon.  The only mention of it is in the acknowledgements.

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan; 2014; $18.00; 328 pages; Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY; 978-0-316-12281-8; Young Adult Fiction; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 8/14/14-8/18/14

Sam and Riddle are now part of the Bell family, in Oregon and their no goodnik father, Clarence, is locked up in prison in California.  Destiny comes between Sam and Emily Bell, she has much in common with Sam, her Mom is also dead and Father in prison.  Clarence breaks out and heads for Oregon because he blames the Bell family for his sons being taken away from him and his being in prison.   He gets to Oregon and kidnaps Emily and her only hope is her nemesis Destiny who goes from being the different homeless girl in town to part of the Bell family.  Exciting action and realistic relationships make for a great book.

Did I like it?  Yes it was good to revisit the characters from I’ll Be There and the relationships were realistic and the action was well paced and realistic.

Grade-A

Why did I read this?  I had picked up I’ll Be There because Holly and I had gone to the same high school at the same time, now I just pick up her books because they are really good.

What is with the title of the review? There is seemingly nothing that can keep Sam and Emily and as the title of the book is a song so is the title of the review

 

A checkered past for a state that prides itself on diversity

Breaking Chains, Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by R. Gregory Nokes; 2013; $19.95; 224 pages; Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR; 978-0-87071-712-3; purchased from the author at Wordstock 2013; 12/13-12/16

Why did I pick this up?  I read R. Gregory Nokes last book Massacred for Gold a couple of years ago and knew that if he was writing about something it was something that had been hidden in our history.

What is the story?  When Oregon became a state in 1859 its constitution was anti-slavery but had an exclusion clause in it.  For many years there was a dichotomy between various parts of Oregons’ Laws slavery was illegal, but it was legal to whip African-Americans who did not leave the territory or state quick enough.  The book starts with a court case, where a Missouri slave owner brought his slaves to Oregon with the promise of freedom once they got a farm established.  The slave owner eventually did give the slave and his wife their freedom, but retained ownership of the couples’ three children.  The slave sued the farm owner for his children’s freedom and after many years of delays the children were returned to their parents.  The author also traces the lives of several other slaves in the Oregon Territory and the battle in writing the State Constitution between the abolitionist and those who favored slavery.  Amazingly even though the constitution of the state prohibited slavery many of the early leaders were pro-slavery.  Many of the names familiar to inhabitants of Oregon were pro-slavery, Deady and Lane among them, Jesse Applegate, a name familiar to those in Southern Oregon, was probably the most vocal abolitionist in the state.

Did I like it? I learned much about the formation of the state of Oregon and learned much of the conflicts in the early years of the state.  It was a well written, well researched book, that I would recommend to anyone.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  Oregon is a state that prides itself on its diversity, has a checkered past when it comes to being diverse.  At the beginning of the state it was anti slavery but allowed people to whip African Americans who didn’t move on quick enough.

 

the future is a choice

Book of Days by James L. Rubart, 2011; $14.99; 381 pages; B&H Publishing, Nashville, TN; 978-14336-7151-7; Fiction; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 11/28-12/02

Why did I pick this up?  Rubarts’ first book Rooms was recommended to me and after I read it I was so impressed that I decided to read the rest of his work.

What is the story?  Cameron has lost his father and his wife and as they died they both mentioned a “book of days”  which would help Cameron and his memory and his life.  He goes looking for the book and enlists the help of his wifes’ foster sister.  There is an emotional barrier between them, as Cameron and Ann start their quest.  Ann is on her own quest seeking answers about her mother.  They go to the town of Three Peaks, Oregon and run into all kinds of interference both emotionally and physically.  They are confronted and stymied by people on all sides of the town and the issues.  As they pursue their goals they learn about their spiritual lives and grow spiritually.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was an interesting look at spiritual lives and how our spirituality affects our daily lives.

Grade-A

What is with the title of  the review?  Several of the characters think that if they will find out what their futures are, but what happens to two of the characters prove that our choices influence the future.

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