CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 2 . . . .September 15, 2006
Certainly, the women profiled in this collection wrote for very different reasons. Ball has selected 10 remarkable women writers whose lives and works range over 200 years: Jane Austen, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Toni Morrison, Joy Kogawa, Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood, and J. K. Rowling. Three are British, four are Americans, and three are Canadians, and all faced a variety of challenges - personal, social, and professional - as they pursued their goals and dreams. Each ten-page chapter features a black and white portrait of the writer, followed by a description of her life and career. Black and white photos are provided for late nineteenth-century and twentieth century writers, and each chapter contains interesting little sidebars. For example, readers of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables novels, remembering Anne's insistence that her name be spelled with an "e", will understand Lucy Maud's insistence on being called "Maud" without an "e" (and never, "Lucy.")
Mindful of her readers' age and experience, Ball provides some necessary historical context for writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, giving her readers a sense of just how society has changed. Young women of the twenty-first century might find it hard to believe that "women didn't often have careers" when Harriet Beecher Stowe was a young woman, or that Mary Ann Evans (better known as George Eliot) and her partner, Henry Lewes, who lived together for years without being married, endured all manner of gossip, criticism, and shunning, because at the time, people considered such a relationship to be "extremely scandalous."
Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.