Must Read Book: One Thousand White Women

Photo by Katie McFadden

Just because the days of lounging on the beach with your book are through doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the comfort of immersing yourself in a novel. Looking for an escape from your exams and group projects? Allow Valley to introduce you to your latest distraction. One Thousand White Women is the next phenomenal book that you should curl up and read this season.

The story begins in the year 1875. Women were typically depicted as conservative, unadventurous and passive. However, Jim Fergus introduces us to a deviant female character in his novel, One Thousand White Women. May Dodd, its protagonist, is one of the most unforgettable, classic, progressive and real characters you will ever read about.

One Thousand White Women recounts the journals of Dodd and her unconventional life during the pioneering era in the United States. Sent to a psych ward by her family for loving a man beneath her social class, she is separated from her two children and disconnected from everything she knows. The only way she is able to get out of the psych ward is if she enrolls in a secret government program that assigns women to marry Cheyenne Indians to help them assimilate into the white man’s world.

May Dodd records her unique experience in a journal that shares the gripping details of both the good and bad of living amongst the Native Americans in the western prairies. Her humor and unrefined accounts will leave you on your toes wanting to turn the next page and find out more. She befriends a vibrant group of fellow volunteers, including a former slave, an artist and vivacious twins. While reading, you will lose yourself in her strange encounters, budding relationships and captivating adventures.

Jim Fergus perfectly encapsulates the time period in America from a woman’s perspective. Here is an excerpt from his novel and May’s journal:

“I leave this record for my dear children, Hortense and William, in the event that I never see their loving mother again and so that they might one day know the truth of my unjust incarceration, my escape from Hell, and into whatever is to come in these pages…”

Whether you’re looking for a distraction or looking for a good laugh or cry, One Thousand White Women is a fantastic read for young women. Enjoy!


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