This Writer Gal

Kakul Ehsan Butt

The Giver of Stars

This is a historical fiction based on the real-life story of Pack Horse Library Project that had come to existence during the ‘30s in the post-depression era to serve poor communities who had little or no access to public library materials in Kentucky. As these remote areas were inaccessible, the librarians (mainly women) travelled on horses. Using this as a foundation, Jojo creates a beautiful tale of six very different women who come to represent a community of sisterhood. They work tirelessly with odds stacked against them, and when a tragedy strikes the town, these women are the first to teach the deeply prejudiced town-folk on what it means to be a community. These heroic women refused to be intimidated by men, especially men in power. Instead they help lift each other up. They deal with misogyny, racism and poverty in the manner that only deems them to be ahead of their time.

The visual description of the sweeping landscape of the Appalachian Mountains would make a reader feel that they are there alongside Margery and Alice, delivering books to families in these remote areas. It is a real page-turner and I was left feeling sad when I got to the last page. It is one of those stories that I could go on reading forever.

The Giver of Stars is remarkable and heart-warming. It is a journey of emotions and discovery. It is a book that I feel every school going girl and boy should read. I consider this to be 2019 book of the year.

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