To leave a comment

To leave a comment, please click on the title of the post to leave or read all comments and replies. Thank you :)

Be sure to scroll down the page today

Be sure to scroll down the page

There are TWO posts today...Sorry about that :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Tobacco Wars by Paul Seesequasis

Set in the early 17th century, Tobacco Wars follows the mythical and rollicking adventures of Pocahontas and playwright Ben Jonson, from the inns, alleyways and royal courts of London to pirates, perilous crossings and hostile warriors in the New World. And as worlds are turned upside down and irrevocably altered, a new commodity, tobacco, intoxicates the Old World just as an “Indian princess” undertakes her own age of exploration

First Thoughts?

This book was not what I thought it would be.  I knew it was short, a novella, and I was fine with that.  However, the story is actually two stories that kind of parallel one another.  One story takes the Indian belief of the Bear as the Mother of the World.  The Mother Bear gives birth and shape to the world, including the many languages that are spoken among it's people.  We then find Bear in modern times in a big city, lamenting what the people have done to her world. 

The other story is of Pocahontas at the time when tobacco was being cultivated in the New World.  Pocahontas travels to London and sees the opera, meets royalty and engages in intellectual conversations with some of the writers of the day.  She meets the Royal Playwright, Ben Johnson, and he follows her back to the Americas for probably, not all the right reasons.

While both stories were semi-interesting, I'm not sure I wholly understand what the Seesequasis was trying to convey.  I think they were meant to be at odds, yet together with one another.  Showing the past and present and what has happened to the Native Americans.  As inquisitive and welcoming as Pocahontas was, she was not treated with mutual respect and admiration.  The Americas are a far cry from what they started out as being, but isn't most of the world nowadays?  America probably is more so than Europe though.

What I expected to read is not what I read in this book.  I was expecting a short adventure story, surrounding the birth of tobacco as the American crop, with Pocahontas involved.  There were adventures to be sure, just not what I expected.  I almost feel as though this was thrown in to get the other message across: what Europeans did to the Native Americans and their land.  

I have no problem with that.  I of all people feel as though, Native Americans still get shafted and say nothing about it; not like others have done.  Now, while I appreciate the message, I didn't fully enjoy the way that it was portrayed.   Mother Bear and her amorous adventures with the wolves and/or the boy were a bit much for me.

I never felt like I truly got to know anything about Pocahontas, and for that I am disappointed.  Maybe I did get a snippet of her, who knows.  But that's ok, I'll research more about her on my own.

Hmmm...if you like artful literature then I think this is for you.  I do not like books where I have to guess that this is what the writer wanted to portray, or guess that I am interpreting things correctly.  I know that's part of reading and analysis, but I'm not sure I fully understood what I read either.  That may be due to the choppiness of both stories, because the book switched back and forth every two pages or so between stories.  As soon as I settled into Pocahontas, I was back with Mother Bear.  Now see, or they supposed to be one in the same?  Not sure.  

Would I change anything?

The description of the book.  I feel like it says one thing but the book is something else.

My Rating: 82/100.  This book was just  not for me.  However, it has piqued my interest in Pocahontas and Native American literature, so that's a good thing.  Also, was I possibly expecting too much from this story?  Did I misinterpret the description?  That is also quite possible.

To read what others thought of this book, please stop by the tour home page.

Publisher: Quattro Books
Genre: Fiction
Paperback, 113 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for including me on the tour.