Sunday, January 9, 2011

Atkins, Jeannine Borrowed Names

Atkins, Jeannine Borrowed Names
Henry Holt 2010 208p 16.99
978-0-8050-8934-9 hs/adult VG
The lives and accomplishments of 3 female icons are important in the telling of these poetry/prose biographies, but it is the relationships between mother and daughter that shine. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker and Marie Curie are the topics.
Whether the author’s purpose is to entertain or to inform, the reader will be taken on a factual and fictional journey through 3 women’s lives, experiencing both objectives. The journey is uniquely written to accomplish both purposes. Using a poetry format to tell the stories, Jeannine Atkins has chosen 3 women who were more successful due to their commitment to their daughters’ beliefs, needs and support. Laura Ingalls Wilder was encouraged by her daughter Rose to write down her prairie stories, and it was Rose who both edited and published her thoughts. Madam C. J. Walker had a daughter to support in post-Civil War America, and this spurred her to invent a hair care product for African American women during a time when entrepreneurs were not African American much less female. Finally, Marie Curie’s passion for science led her to two Nobel prizes! It’s hard to say which came first, a love of science or a need for a relationship with her mother, but daughter Irene developed both, and became famous in her own right. The stories told in poetry are inspirational, sentimental and creative. There is something within the covers of this book for every female. One surmises that Atkins uses this book as the basis for a college course on female accomplishment during a time when females did not have equality. The reader will seek biographies of these three women to separate the fact from the fiction and will additionally discover that Atkins’s use of her own personal thoughts to fill in the gaps is what makes this book such an interesting read. She weaves the two together to make her pages come to life.
Recommended for a college library and/or course on female motivation & accomplishments. Perhaps a high school teacher of A. P. English would find use of this book in either a comparative study of poetry vs. prose or a study of fiction vs. nonfiction within works of literature. Squaresky, Martha poetry about famous mothers & daughters

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