Review: From The Moment I Started Reading I Knew It Was Special; Beautifully Written…

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful novel that exposes the thin veneer of Civilization, 10 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (Kindle Edition)

From the moment I started reading this book I knew it was special; beautifully written with wonderful descriptions of nature and a fascinating storyline that is set against the 1895 prison sentence of the English playwright and novelist, Oscar Wilde, and the reactions of ordinary folk to his conviction.
The author gives us a glimpse of small town life near Nevada at the time of Wilde’s conviction, and it’s not pleasant to witness. We read how powerful spiteful unwarranted gossip can be, and how fast it can spread contaminating and infecting many of those who come into contact with it. Those who stand by and do nothing to prevent or stop such vileness are equally culpable. The tragedy is that we recognize that such ignorance, prejudice, bigotry, homophobia, racism, bullying, hatred, loathing, religious fervour and holier than thou attitudes, are not just confined to history, they are a modern day phenomenon too. Therein lies the book’s power; it could just as easily be written about contemporary life. We humans have learned little wisdom with the passage of time. The author shows that unconditional love, tolerance and friendship is the only way to survive such an onslaught of viciousness and ignorance but it’s easier said than done ~ and it does help that Mildred is wealthy.
There are elements of the book that disappoint ~ Mildred is shown as a stereotypical lesbian and the author goes to great lengths to ensure we realise she is tall and plain and manly and that men do not find her sexually attractive. And although her lover Edra is beautiful and feminine she is also stereotypical in that she has been psychologically damaged by a vicious rape that occurred in her younger life (which we are led to presume makes her afraid of all men in general.) It would have been preferable to show a more balanced view ~ shown that women can be beautiful, feminine, psychologically healthy and still be lesbian.
This book is painful reading since it highlights the weaknesses of mankind ~ just scrape below the veneer of civilization and you expose a brutish vile nature that is deeply shaming. I think this novel would make an excellent A-level text (I taught Advanced Level English Literature for over 10 years) since it covers so many relevant topics for students today. A worthy read and one you will ponder on well after you have turned the last page.
NB: I was delighted to read that proceeds from this book are earmarked for animal rescue. Thank you to the author.


About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for "gross indecency" under Britian's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wildes' imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs--- Max and Bella. She practices women's health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)
This entry was posted in REVIEWS, REVIEWS: THE PERSECUTION OF MILDRED DUNLAP. Bookmark the permalink.

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