Wednesday, November 17, 2021

This Tender Land

Author: William Kent Krueger

One-sentence summary: Four kids set out on their own to find a better life and their adventures down the river lead them to many interesting and impactful encounters. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 7

Our favorite thing about it: The interesting characters the kids run into on their journey. (Great supporting cast.)

Our least favorite thing about it: The audio narration was not great. The narrator trailed off toward the end of sentences and was very hard to hear. (This probably affected some of our ratings.)

Main Topics of Discussion: Hardship, Redemption, Mystical/Magical, God/Religion/Faith, Safety

Our favorite quote: “Of all that we're asked to give others in this life, the most difficult to offer may be forgiveness.”

Notes: We had wildly varying thoughts about this book, but notably, those who listened to it liked it less than those who read it. The narrator wasn't the best so that made a difference, apparently. And some of us had a hard time getting into the story. There were also a long list of one hardship after another that happened to the kids and it felt relentless to some of us while reading. You're not always in the mood for that no matter how beautiful and well done the writing is. 

However, those of us who liked it thought the story was great, the characters both relatable and vivid, and the imagery beautiful. Many of the "side" characters were stars in their own right and we really enjoyed them (Gertie, Sister Eve, the Aunt). We loved the redemption at the end as well as the thread of religion/faith and searching for God throughout. Especially through the eyes of children. We thought the author did an excellent job of writing a 12 year old boy's perspective and making us care about him even though we are much older women. The magical and mystical parts of the story and characters fit in just perfectly and that alone shows how well-crafted the novel is. One bone to pick, though - the title of the book is not great. It sounds just fine but doesn't describe the book at all. We all had much different expectations of what it was about based on the title. And the phrase, "this tender land" is mentioned once in a beautiful turn of phrase, but otherwise doesn't speak to the main thrust or themes of the story. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: The chili was very memorable - SO good!

What We Ate: San Pellegrino Pomegranate Cocktails, Chili, Cornbread, Kale Salad, cheesecake brownies

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