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ARC Review: The Divorce Colony

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White April White’s The Divorce Colony is set during the Gilded Age, in the America of the late 1800s. It revolves around the lax divorce rules then to be found in South Dakota.  Today, getting divorced is almost easier than getting married. But in the Gilded Age, divorces were not so easy to obtain. Divorce was viewed as a moral concern for the state, and was denounced from the pulpit for threatening the sanctity of marriage. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against it.  Laws around divorce tended to be most lax on the frontiers of the United States. By the 1880s the territory of Dakota gained the dubious honor of posting the largest rise in divorces in the country. At the turn of the century one city - Sioux Falls, South Dakota - gained a reputation for having the laxest divorce laws of all, and required only a three month residency in order to take advantage of them

Review: Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room
by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have not already, you owe it to yourself to spend some time in 1950's Paris, in Giovanni's room. 

James Baldwin's classic novel is a lyrical book both beautiful and frustrating. Beautiful for its language - the sentences just flow and I found it very hard to put this book down. Frustrating because it's the 1950's and so the love that the narrator David finds in Paris is hopeless, because David is a product of his time - oh so closeted and terribly selfish.

This book is full of small details while it carefully avoids getting too detailed about the heart of the story. Though it gets much closer in its depiction of love between two men (and for that matter love between a man and woman) than I would have thought possible for a book published in 1953, still it dances around it's main topic. David is a careful narrator, who does not want to admit to himself the love that he has found, and he makes a mess of things because of it. 

Yes, the times and attitudes were different then, but there is something in this story that seems timeless to me. I hated to come to the end of this one, and I am sorry that I've never picked it up before now.  Highly recommend.

Giovanni's Room links

Borrow it: Find out if your library has the ebook or audiobook available
Buy it New:  Buy this book new on AmazonBarnes & Noble or  Books-A-Million 
Buy it Used: Buy this book used on AbeBooksBetter World Books or ThriftBooks 
Support Indie Bookstores:  Buy this book directly from Bookshop.org or find an Independent Bookstore near you.