Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

Image from here.

 A week after my wedding, I had the privilege of participating in one my dearest friends weddings in Lubbock. My mom picked me up to take me to the airport and about halfway there she asks, "So you've got your iPod, right?" To which I reply, "Oh crap. Yes, but it's not charged. And DANGIT I don't have headphones." She said, "That's okay. You always bring books anyway so you'll be fine." (Silence) "You didn't bring a book, did you?"

For most, this situation would be easily remedied: go to a bookstore in the airport. Simple. Easy. Wham bam thank ya ma'am. Not so much for me.

I'm that person you see in libraries sitting on the floor between the aisles, looking disheveled, distressed, and altogether on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I take book buying (and yes, even borrowing) very seriously. When reading, I invest in the characters, the plot, everything; emotionally, I begin relating to the characters, almost imagining them as good friends. In my mind, they exist. They are real people. That may sound strange, but that's how I operate. And so, you might understand now why buying a book is so difficult. I need to know that the experience will prove to be a good one because, once invested, I can't back out. I think in my entire life, I've only left three books unfinished (No, college reading doesn't count. I was forced to invest in those characters, which is another story entirely).

So while perusing the book store in the airport, I had two things in mind: 1) that the book had to be absolutely fabulous and "unputdownable" and 2) that it had to be relatively cheap. Hey, I'm a newlywed, okay? So after an hour of searching (I wish I was joking), I finally happened upon The Postmistress. It was in the "Most Popular" section and I was intrigued because Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, was quoted on the cover saying she recommended this book to all her friends. I was sold.

And let me tell you, I'm so glad I found that book. Sometimes I find myself in a rut, reading the same thing over and over. But this book was precisely what I needed.

The Postmistress, written by Sarah Blake, alternates between three women: a bold American reporter in London, a newlywed and, naturally, a postmistress. Set during World War II, the story alternates between these three women, intertwining their stories until they are seamlessly woven together. As a reader you're immediately invested in these women through Blake's rhetoric and beautiful and vivid use of imagery; you feel as if you're there.

Other readers debate the quality of the story, claiming there's no plot or character development and the end leaves you begging for more. Personally, I disagree; I found the story refreshing in its "untidiness" and lack of a fairytale ending. The details about American's view of the War are shocking, but true, and while there are some historical inaccuracies regarding technology, Blake is upfront about this and explains her reasoning.

Altogether, I loved this book and would highly recommend it. It's thought provoking, if anything else, and definitely deserves a chance.

Read it and let me know what you think!


  1. Thank you for the compliment about my blog. I will try to blog more :) so check back! I just read your "about me"..I am from Oklahoma, too! Where are you from in OK?