Monday, September 15, 2008

Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril and Romance - Marthe Jocelyn

"mable riley" is a story taking place during the early days of the suffragist movement in rural ontario. jocelyn's protagonist, the title character of the book, bears a bit more than a passing resemblance to another favourite canadian heroine. if you guessed the indomitable anne shirley you'd be spot on. like anne, mable is unable to fit into the prescribed notions of young womanhood that colour her era. she is inclined to speak her voice, and is driven to take action to right perceived wrongs, than to simply wait for someone else to take care of things. she can't comprehend an acceptable life of marriage and housewifery, instead dreaming of world travel and fame as a writer. like anne, these things mean that mable is bound to find conflict among the more proper citizens of her community. however, also like anne, her effervescent spirit ensures she also has many supporters. unlike anne, mable's story is used as a sounding block through which children can be introduced to the very real and perilous struggle that was the suffragist movement. mable's friendship with mrs. rattle, a local suffragist opens her eyes to the unfair plight of women in the later part of the 19th century. this is a great book for young girls to learn about an important movement in canadian and feminist history. i'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially fans of canadian historical fiction while they're waiting for the next "dear canada" book to hit the shelves.

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