[Robert Morgan] ð Gap Creek : The Story Of A Marriage (Oprah's Book Club) [world-history PDF] Read Online ê I picked up a nice copy of this book from my library book sale for 10 cents awhile back I decided to read it this week as my final book for the Southern Literature Challenge because it won the Southern Book Critic Circle Award However, it is also an Oprah book Next time I pick up an Oprah book, somebody please just slap me This book is depressing than a sunless day in January How depressing read on Spoilers Set in 1899, the book opens with 17 year old protagonist Julie Harmon describing the gruesome death of her younger brother That s followed with the death of her father Then she marries Hank, whom she has known for all of a few days They move down from the mountains of North Carolina to the Appalachian valley over the border in South Carolina Julie takes care of a nasty old widower in exchange for free rent while Hank works in town making bricks We get a lot of detail into their tough and rugged lives, including an in depth look into the slaughtering of a hog Julie burns down the kitchen, the widower dies, they are swindled out of every dime they own, Hank smacks Julie around and loses his job, they loose what little they have left in a flood, Julie gives birth to a premature baby that subsequently dies, and then they get tossed out of the house.
And that s the end.
I m only giving it two stars instead of one because I liked this passage The good Lord made the world so we could earn our joy, Ma said But it s no guarantee we ll ever be happy.
I agree with the concept that we have to work hard to earn joy and happiness in life And sometimes I think happiness is a decision However, I know that life can be difficult and even brutal I just would have appreciated a little sunshine in this book.
I hated this book for so many reasons Here are the top five.
1 I don t buy Robert Morgan writing as a female It just doesn t wash.
2 The sex scenes are beyond unbelievable they read like some weird hill billy acid trip synthesia It s very distracting.
3 I don t buy that such a strong female character would tolerate such an abusive, whiny husband My tough ol granny would have shot him and thrown his ass in the creek.
4 On a related note, I hated Hank and was waiting for him to die I was disappointed when he didn t.
5 The book is written in the first person, and the charcter s grammar wasn t consistant It slipped between normal and dialect for no apparent reason and pulled me right out of the story.
Robert Morgan s Gap Creek is written in a simple manner, easy to read, but raw If you think your life is rough, read this book The primary root of trouble in this story is the land of Gap Creek itself In fact, the earth itself is so extraordinarily pervasive and alive, that Morgan almost allows it to become its own rich, cumbersome but generous character In this story, the land of Gap Creek rears itself up and fights against the main characters Julie, Hank and the other mountain people on the boarder of South Carolina at the turn of the century Death, floods, winter storms, poverty, childbirth, accidents they were as common place as the amount of work on the homestead that Julie went through from sun up to sun down Morgan also depicted Julie as the earth itself she struggled against it, but it made her who she was Although it wore out both Julie and Hank, the land itself forged their character for better or for worse There were no pretenses in this book the sheer arduous difficulty of life brought out quickly each character s true inner person, testing them and causing them to change in ways they probably would not have, had they been born in another century or town.
I rated this 5 stars because of the way it was written and the twists in this couple s story But if I have to rate the characters in this novel, I would definitely rate Julie 4.
5 stars and her husband Hank only 1 star This couple is two different souls who just hurriedly tied the knot without even has the slightest idea about each other Hank was just strong in physique but not on the inside because of how he easily snap and breakdown during problems.
I know that other reviews on this book were not that good but for me, I enjoyed reading it It showed us that marriage is not pure bliss and that couples must be headstrong and should help each other in times of struggles And before I could forget, I was really amazed that a man written this because of how he portrayed women wives stronger than them, guys.
I ve been an Oprah Book Club fan since the beginning, may be in the minority I thought this book was great, simple but raw I love books set in the Appalachian s My first book by Robert Morgan, I like his style of writing Look forward to fm this author
The hardest work I did on Gap Creek was trying to get the voice right, says Robert Morgan, who has been called the poet laureate of Appalachia The voice, as it happens, is of seventeen year old Julie Harmon At seventeen, she s a good girl, and strong, working as hard as a man alongside her father in this gritty, realistic portrayal of life in late nineteenth century North Carolina Morgan starts us off with the depiction of a horrifying illness in the very first chapter When her younger brother dies, followed a bit later by her father, Julie becomes the head of the family, caring for her mother and sisters until a handsome boy passes through the holler After a few weeks, she and the boy, Hank, marry and move the distance of a day s walk to Gap Creek Since homes are few and far between, they rent a room with a stinky, lewd and mean old widower in exchange for Julie s serving as the maid and housekeeper While Hank works at a distant mill, Julie cleans, cooks, tends the fields and the farm animals, splits and hauls wood and even butchers a hog, the rendering of whose fat causes disaster Written in a voice similar to Cold Mountain, Gap Creek tells the story of a can do kind of young woman who works so hard it hurts your back to read about it.
Morgan portrays the delicate evolution of a marriage, and of a girl trying to define her identity in relation to the union, a timeless theme for sure, but one made nuanced by the circumstances in which Julie lives On one level this is a love story, comparable to that of any impoverished but earnest young couple determined to carve out an existence in their world.
It s just that their world is so Darwinian Julie s strength and skills are essential in a time and place where the only food you eat is what you can raise or kill yourself the only shelter you live in is what you build or maintain alone Medical care is a matter of family knowledge handed down for better or worse from generation to generation Superstition carries unquestioned curative or destructive power She and Hank live at the meanest edge of subsistence, with no electricity or running water, and just one injury, illness, or crop failure between death and survival.
Morgan use simple descriptions to transport us into Julie s everyday world I stepped out to the back porch and looked in the yard Like in any backyard, there was a woodshed and a smokehouse, a clothesline, a path to the toilet on the right, and a path to the spring on the left And further out there was a barn and hogpen The washpot was on the trail to the spring And there was a table and a wooden tub on the trail next to the pot I looked around the porch and found a washboard and a bucket And by the water bucket was a cake of Octagon soap I grabbed that bucket and carried several gallons of water from the spring and poured them in the pot And then I got some kindling and wood from the shed and started a fire under the pot it took me four trips just to carry Mr Pendergast s clothes out to the wash table Earnest, loyal and na ve but not stupid Julie isn t daunted by the need to work like a mule In a metaphor for her resilience, she finds solace in hard work Hank is weak, a whiner, impulsive, with a bad temper The two of them weather fire, flood, extortion, swindling, poverty and hunger She is so much stronger than him, but by the end of the story he changes The challenges are endless, the struggle Sisyphean She works and works, yet the problems never slow down, and her effort seemingly pointless in clawing some security from the soil What, I wonder, was Morgan trying to tell us He said the book is based on his grandmother, that he wanted to explore what life was like for women who worked so hard for everybody else Examples of hard work How about washing and dressing a dead man Butchering a hog In that sense the story is a portrait of self sufficiency, and the kind of strength you don t see so much any.
There is a primitive rawness to the world in which Julie lives, leaving little indication of divine intervention In two major scenes she seems deflated by the world s indifference, given over to an existentialist s sad musings I sat there on the cold ground feeling that human life didn t mean a thing in this world People could be born and they could die, and it didn t mean a thing little Masenier was dead There was nothing we could do about it, and nothing cared except Papa and me The world was exactly like it had been and would always be, going on about its business When Julie finds religion it s a matter, I think, of finding community with other earnest human beings, and garnering strength from their friendship She is helped and is grateful, and in this Morgan makes a profound yet subtle affirmation of the essential bond between human beings.
In the end, this book is about innate strength, and the courage to make a life, to enjoy carnal and spiritual love, and to battle hard luck and crushing circumstance I found it inspiring.
I thought this one started strong but ended weak The subtitle is The Story of a Marriage, but I don t find that accurate, since the story doesn t follow the marriage through we only get a glimpse at the very beginnings of a marriage I expected, based on the title, to get the whole story, and I feel a bit jipped Also, the further along I got, the I skimmed because I started getting bored Overall, though, I enjoyed the story, and I think MOrgan accurately portrays the Appalachian lifestyle at the turn of the century, and I am always interested in stories that capture what life was like there then I also appreciate the depiction of a strong female character.
Uhhhhh What exactly was the point of what I just read Oh, there wasn t one Ok Just checking Was this bad No Boring at times, yes I mean this is a Oprah s book club read.
the praise for it is borderline overwhelming But, I just can t gush I can t tell you it was horrid I m not going to remember this book The only memorable moment was the baby death scene Even that wasn t written extraordinarily well The characters were hard to get to know None were super likeablelikeable And, what was up with the baby sister jealousy Those moments really bothered me Meh 2.
5 stars Not for me.
Young Julie Harmon Works Hard As A Man, They Say, So Hard That At Times She S Not Sure She Can Stop People Depend On Her To Slaughter The Hogs And Nurse The Dying People Are Weak, And There Is So Much To Do At Just Seventeen She Marries And Moves Down Into The Valley Of Gap Creek, Where Perhaps Life Will Be BetterBut Julie And Hank S New Life In The Valley, In The Last Years Of The Nineteenth Century, Is Complicated Than The Couple Ever Imagined Sometimes It S Hard To Tell What To Fear Most The Fires And Floods Or The Flesh And Blood Grifters, Drunks, And Busybodies Who Insinuate Themselves Into Their New Life To Survive, They Must Find Out Whether Love Can Keep Chaos And Madness At Bay Their Struggles With Nature, With Work, With The Changing Century, And With The Disappointments And Triumphs Of Their Union Make Gap Creek A Timeless Story Of A MarriageA Native Of The North Carolina Mountains, Robert Morgan Was Raised On Land Settled By His Welsh Ancestors An Accomplished Novelist And Poet, He Has Won The James B Hanes Poetry Prize, The North Carolina Award In Literature, And The Jacaranda Review Fiction Prize His Short Stories Have Appeared In Prize Stories The O Henry Awards And New Stories From The South, And His Novel The Truest Pleasure Was A Finalist For The Southern Book Critics Circle Award For Fiction