3. The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

By Ann Weisgarber

Rating:  5 out of 5

I’m taking a step backward.  This is Weisgarber’s first book.

I came home from work today, thinking I might stop reading this book.  I rarely quit on a book, but this one starts out sad, and I don’t want to read a sad book.  I decided to give it a couple more chapters, and it did have some happy chapters, so I’m a quarter of the way through and still reading.  I hope it doesn’t let me down.


I wonder if Ms. Weisgarber has read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book title has a similar ring to it.


Chapter 17.  This book gets a 5 for chapter 17.

This is a tough book, but it does a fair job of mixing some good in with the sad.

This is the story of a cook in a boarding house in Chicago in the early 1900s, who makes a deal with the owner of the boarding house’s son.  He wants to homestead in the Badlands of South Dakota.  For an $18 filing fee, any man or single woman can get 160 acres of land from the government.  Rachel agrees to let Isaac acquire 160 acres on her behalf (doubling his share), in exchange for marrying her and taking her with him.  He only wants the land.  She only wants the marriage.

The marriage lasts, though, and Isaac continues to acquire more and more land from others who give up on the harsh lifestyle.  After a long drought, Rachel is ready to give up, too.

Buy this book from Barnes & Noble.



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