Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Author: Kim Michelle Richardson
Released: May 7th, 2019
Warnings: Rape, torture, racism, segregation
I received a copy of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek through BookishFirst in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a brilliant and sometimes heartbreaking read. It probably had so much more impact due to the fact that it’s based on a true story, well, sort of. It’s inspired by real people, and a real career (the book women – librarians who would deliver books to locations too far and small for their own library).
Set in 1936, the book follows Cussy Carter, but she’s better known as Bluet. She’s a book woman – meaning that she delivers books to her far neighbors so they can have the opportunity to read (or learn to read, in some cases). She’s also blue.
This novel deals with a lot of heavy and emotional subjects. It discusses the need for people to have access to books, the consequences of censorship, and the pain of racism and segregation. All of this while telling a beautiful and ultimately uplifting tale.
Warnings: There are a few really rough moments in this novel, along with the overall heavier tones to be told. In the beginning of the novel there’s a scene that questions consent, and it comes alongside abuse. There are other abusive moments during the novel, but most of them are verbal. There are mentions of what can happen to a blue person if they acted out though, and it’s rough. This novel also covers racism and segregation.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was an absolutely beautiful novel. The overall message of Bluet – her determination to get books to those that have been so overlooked by life is inspiring. Her need to help others, no matter the cost to herself, was touching, as were many other moments and sentiments in this novel.
Unfortunately there were a lot of heavy tones in this novel as well. For example, not everyone was as open to the idea of learning to read as others. And even those that were meant to help increase the exposure to reading weren’t above censorship.
This novel will start a conversation: the concept of racism and segregation, and the surprise of seeing Bluet included in that treatment. It’s not something I would have ever considered – though it makes a heartbreaking amount of sense when you think about it. I’m so glad to have had it pointed out to me, and in such a well-written manner.
There were moments in this novel where my heart absolutely broke for Bluet, her family, and her friends. But there were other moments where she inspired me. And moments that were truly uplifting. The balance was perfect, and did a wonderful job of carrying the overall message of this story.