Taylor, Robert Lewis. The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1958.
Reason read: February is national history month and Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is a historical fiction.
Although The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is grounded in fiction its bibliography indicates Taylor made extensive use of letters, memorandums, maps, memoirs, guidebooks, journals, and sermons to give the novel sincere authenticity. In a nutshell, it is the adventures of young Jaimie McPheeters as he journeyed with his father to seek gold in the mid 1800s. [As an aside, I could not help but think of Natalie Merchant’s song “Gold Rush Brides” when I read The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.] The story has everything: clashes with Indian tribes (including kidnapping, torture and murder), gambling, religion (Mormonism and the question of polygamy), humor, weather, and the hardships of the trail. This was the wild west; a time when at plate passing someone could offer a live rattlesnake in lieu of money. Confessional: I didn’t know if I liked audacious Jaimie McPheeters when I first met him. My favorite parts were the interactions he had with his father. The interesting conversation about Latin and who killed the dead language was one of my favorites. Taylor has an interesting way of using words. The words ‘pranced’ and ‘shotgun’ usually do not go together in the same sentence.
A word of warning: speaking of language, it is a bit dated with derogatory and racist words.
Line I liked, “When one set of sense lies down on the job, another reports in and takes over” (p 18). This quote hit a little too close to home, “It went along very much like a dentist trying to pry out a wisdom tooth that had got wrapped around the jawbone” (p 101). I have a wisdom tooth that is sitting too close to my jaw bone.
Author fact: Taylor was first a journalist before becoming a Pulitzer winning author.
Book trivia: It is my personal opinion that The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters would have benefitted from a few maps, but it won a Pulitzer without them.
Nancy said: Pearl said she would buy The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters for a history buff in her family.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “A Holiday List” (p 114).