It's Time to Meet Maggie Mae!
The Tobacco Wives
I just finished The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers and had a wonderful book discussion with the OIB Beach Girls Book Club (they graciously have allowed me to begin attending despite me not living at Ocean Isle Beach).
I loved this book for many reasons:
Although written to be an easy read, this novel lends itself to some really deep thought. What is right? What is wrong? How does one handle a gray area? What if something is wrong but pointing it out ruins not only your life and your family's life, but the lives of everyone in your town - even your state? Is it okay to push for some change without tackling the entire issue?
And then there was the whole idea of women's place in society in the 1940s - and how it compares to now. It has changed, but has it changed enough? If not, why - and what are you willing to do about it? If you think it has changed enough, then what do you say to women who don't agree?
In some ways, the book reminds me of An Enemy Like Me in that the main character is pitted against two opposing forces, both of which the main character loves. In An Enemy Like Me, it is Jacob's German heritage and his American patriotism. In The Tobacco Wives, it is the pride of being part of tobacco - the thing that is making NC great - and the understanding that tobacco is not only making NC great but making many seriously ill. How do the characters respond when they can't seem to have it all?
I love the character Maggie Mae. She is young and principled. She sees everything in black and white. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. But as she gets involved in the lives of the tobacco wives, she begins to see, reluctantly, that life isn't as simple as that.
I think you will applaud Maggie Mae - and eventually forgive Mitzy, the queen of Big Tobacco in Brightleaf. And I hope, you will ask yourself questions and try to determine what you would have done - in either woman's shoes.
Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
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