November 2022 Book of the Month---- The Girls in the Stilt House

Mamanyt1953

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I have to go back and do some re-reading. I'll get something on here by Friday! LOL, I've read 10 or 11 books since I finished it, and somehow, I don't think that Ada is running a restaurant with Matilda on Dune....
 
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verna davies

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Its the 22nd so :-
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Hope you have had time to read this months book and will join in by posting your views of The Girls in the Stilt House. Discussion time will last until 28th of the month.
 
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verna davies

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I'll kick off the discussion as its already 22nd here in wet Wales.

I finished this book at the very beginning of the month as it had to be returned to my library so I might forget some of the details but I did make notes.

Ada Morgan didnt have much of a start to life, left to live with a man she loved at an early and impressionable age only to be left by him so she had no choice but to go back to the swamp to live with her father Virgil. The author's description of stilt house and living conditions formed a vivid picture in my mind, such a terrible way to live.

The appearance of Matilda Patterson out of nowhere piqued my interest, as at that point in the book no clues were given about where she was from. She had no hesitation in defending Ada when her father looked like he was going to attack her thus forming a friendship that was to last

Matilda came across as bossy, controlling, manipulative and secretive but I couldn't help but like her.

When the book forecast on Matilda I found it a bit slow but it picked up again later. She too had a hard life. So sad that her mother Teensy died in childbirth but I loved Gertie the midwife who played such an important part of Matilda's life.

By the time I got to the part of Teensy dying and Gertie featuring I didn't want to stop reading the book.

I felt quite sad when Buddy Jones, who having worked so hard to get together the money to buy a piece of land to build a home for himself and his wife was killed by Frank, glad Frank got his just rewards later.

I would have loved for Ada and Matilda to have stayed together but at least Ada found what she was looking for with her sewing job and little flat although we do not know how Matilda fared in Ohio.

I could go on about the parts of this book that I loved but I'd be here all day so suffice to say I thoroughly enjoyed the story telling, descriptions and characters.

I would definitely recommend this book to others, same the author hasnt as yet written any more books.

I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 

rubysmama

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As I usually do, I started this book without re-reading the description, so I went into it not knowing what to expect.

I really enjoyed the first part with Ada’s story, and then when Matilda joined her. The 2nd part, which focused on Matilda and her family seemed a bit too long for me, as I actually forgot Ada’s name while reading it. Once we got back to Ada and Matilda, I started to enjoy it again, and by the end was teary eyed.

I would have liked the 2 girls, and Annis, to have lived “happily ever after” together as a little family, but that was probably unrealistic considering their history, and the fact that it was the 1920’s.

It was maddening reading about the 2 evil men, Virgil and Frank, and though I’m not a fan of violence, it seemed fitting that they both got their comeuppance at the hands of the girls.

Many reviews I’ve seen compare this book to Where the Crawdad’s Sing, which we read last year. And though there were similarities, I liked this one better due to the complicated friendship between Ada and Matilda.

Rating wise, probably 3.5 out of 5 stars
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rubysmama

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I think it reminded me of Crawdads because of the location description and dreadful childhood.
I was thinking about the sparse, and violent, living conditions of both Kya in Crawdads, and Ada and Matilda in Stilt House, in comparison to the whimsical life Sadie was having during the same time period in our September book, Twenties Girl. Different countries, of course, as Twenties Girl took place in the UK. But I imagine in the cities in the US, the upper class was having fun, while those living on the swamp in Mississippi were barely surviving.
 

rubysmama

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I am still reading!
Hope you find some time over the Thanksgiving weekend to squeeze in some more reading time. :read:

I find it a bit offensive, the part about the Confederate graves, since some of my ancestors fought against their will. Not everybody who fought was rich and willing to go. Or had slaves, for that matter.
I don't recall very much about the Confederate graves, other than at the beginning when they needed to hide Virgil's body. And, for me, I just thought "would something like that really exist in the middle of the woods?".

But as a Canadian, and I would think maybe the same for V verna davies being from Wales, reading a book like this is just a story, so we probably see it a different way than Americans who could have ancestors who lived during that time in history.
 
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Mamanyt1953

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I don't recall very much about the Confederate graves, other than at the beginning when they needed to hide Virgil's body. And, for me, I just thought "would something like that really exist in the middle of the woods?".
Absolutely, yes, something like that exists in the middle of LOTS of woods all over the South. One of my favorite places in Chattanooga is a tiny Confederate cemetery in the middle of a patch of woods. It is fenced off, as those graves are unmarked, but it is a very peaceful place. But you find odd graves in odd places. Some are from the war, others are from homesteads that no longer exist.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Very, very few. This is a portion of Chickamauga Battlefield, just outside of Rossville, GA.
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It is a section that I am very familiar with. You literally cannot walk from that cannon to the treeline in any direction without walking across scores of bodies. Both sides were so heavily decimated that they were buried where they fell. MOSTLY, the graves like Ada and Matilda used were men who died of illness (or minor injuries that infected) while on the move. The only unusual thing was the grave markers...although, in a few cases, comrades reported the location of a burial (generally marked with a simple wooden cross with name and dates) to the family, and the family managed to find it and erect a marker there.

Interesting thing about that bit of land...the iron content is so high that the bodies are almost completely preserved. A few were exhumed, and you could nearly match them to a photograph, were one available. Gives me the shivers.
 

Mamanyt1953

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You are very, very welcome. It is a haunted place, in my opinion, both figuratively and literally. I get goosebumps when I am there. When you are there at night, and the wind sloughs through the trees, it sounds like whispers all around you.
 

rubysmama

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others are from homesteads that no longer exist.
That makes sense, as I'm sure that's the case in rural areas in Canada too.

Absolutely, yes, something like that exists in the middle of LOTS of woods all over the South. One of my favorite places in Chattanooga is a tiny Confederate cemetery in the middle of a patch of woods. It is fenced off, as those graves are unmarked, but it is a very peaceful place.
I can see it being peaceful, but also sad and depressing too. :(
 
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verna davies

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Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 . Did you manage to refresh your memory on the book? Its difficult to remember a book sufficiently enough to review when you read so many. Hope you are able to tell us your opinions and thoughts.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Let me give this a try, but my thoughts are kinda everywhere tonight. Don't want to wait, because I'll totally forget!

First, this story is kinda timeless. I know people who live in homes like that, even today. I kept thinking, "Dear Lord, those girls are naive, even Matilda to a degree!" And then thinking, "Well, 1920s, the vast majority of girls were just that naive."

I so felt Ada's helplessness, finding out that the boy she loved wasn't quite her Prince Charming, then coming home to Virgil. What a waste of skin that man was. Of course, one got the feeling that, had she been a boy, she'd have been welcomed back like the prodigal son. I admired her strength, although it looked weak. She had the gumption to stick it out, and try to make the best of a bad situation. And I know, from experience (although not with parents) that takes a very special kind of strength and endurance.

And then came Matilda, who was far more a knight in shining armour than ever her boyfriend had been. I kinda hugged the book when she put an end to Virgil. Quoting an old western, whose name escapes me, "Some varmits jes' need killin'."

I was enchanted that it took me a little while to actually know that Matilda was a young black woman. So many authors tend to belabor things like that, but Ms.Mustian just let Matilda speak for herself, and her being unfolded very organically.

Gertie the midwife was a marvel. She was one of those characters who make you want to jump into the pages of a book, just for the pleasure of meeting her. No-nonsense, plain-spoken, but filled with a deep caring for people.

Like others, I found Matilda's backstory just a tiny bit tedious, but...on re-reading it, I'm not sure that it could have been shortened. Matilda's story was worth it, for me, in the end. Such a sad, but common story at that time, especially in the South.

I, too, would have loved for Ada and Matilda to have remained together, but it would have been so hard for them, especially in that time, and in that place. Ada found what she needed, and...well...although we do not KNOW what happened to Matilda, I picture her living a happy, fulfilling life, continuing to be a reporter, and perhaps being, in her small way, a harbinger of civil rights.
 
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