One Thousand White Women – The Journals of May Dodd By: Jim Fergus
Genre: Historical fiction
“The influence of gods being only as good as their earthly representatives.”
Summary: May Dodd our main character living in an asylum after having two children out of wedlock which her high class parents disapprove of so strongly they lock their daughter in an institution where she suffers greatly. She is then forced to take desperate measure to regain her freedom and enters into a government program where one thousand white brides will be given to the Cheyenne Indians on the Great Plains. Their assignment is to marry and have babies with these “savages” as a form of assimilation. The story proceeds in the form of journal entries as she struggles to adapt and overcome the hardships she faces as a woman and member of the Cheyennes.
“Now we move out again, the horses slipping down off the knoll, following the People, who follow the buffalo, who follow the grass, which springs from the Earth.”
Rant: The story had a unique depth and beautiful main character who was far from perfect but had the morals and convictions to make up for whatever she was missing. May knew that she couldn’t live confined in a room putting up with the terrors there so she fled into the Great Plains. She was strong and sure of herself, leading the more timid of the women and keeping everyone safe…until the end. A woman ahead of her times and a true embodiment of a feminist. *SPOILERS* I know they were all doomed to die because history has already been written and the odds were stacked against the Native Americans from the beginning but having to read about the death and destruction against the people you were rooting for the beginning would make a grown man sob (only one tear slid out of my eye though). But the story is engaging, always lots of plot, quickly paced and struggles trying to live as a “savage”. The major point of disappointment was in the ending as I feel it mostly is. Not only is it unclear its just so unsatisfying. Maybe killing everyone should have been the ending point or it switched the Chiefs point of view. I was just slightly let down at the ending and throwing in the possibility that May never left the asylum and was completely insane could’ve been a brilliant idea but it was poorly done and then immediately dismissed, leaving the reader confused and slightly angry that the author thought that throwing that in was a good idea.
VERDICT: Overall 3.5 stars out of 5. Engaging read.