#WestTexas #women #WildWest #BookReview #TheWind
I first hear about this book on NPR a few years ago, while living in West Texas. Granted, Alpine in 2105 is nothing at all like the Wild West that was in Sweetwater in the late 1800s. But still. The reaction of the audience to this day is hateful vengence. Author Dorothy Scarborough was actually raised in Sweetwater though, for some perspective.
Let me state here, that West Texas was where I found home like I had never known before. It was my father’s happily ever after, and I worked in a dementia ward for two years to save up to get him off the streets and to “the bend,” but it turned out to be mine too. I met my husband and had my daughter and graduated there. Then my dad died there and I spread some his ashes in our spot on the Rio Grande.
Alpine is in yellow, along the border. Sweetwater is up in the panhandle.
The story of The Wind is about Letty, a beautiful, young, pampered girl of maybe 18. Upon the death of her mother and only living relative, she must leave her lush life of rivers, green trees, and flowers in springtime Virginia including her dear maid to care for every waking moment of her life. She is to join her cousin Beverly and his wretched wife who had bought a ranch in Sweetwater years before, due to his infection of tuberculosis, regretably leaving behind a sweetheart in Virginia.
From the train ride, the chronicle begins, and Letty is warned by a hospitable man she inevitably cannot stop thinking about, that the prairie is harsh, the life is rough, and that The Wind will ruin her beauty and her nerves. He proves to be correct in the end.
It is an incredible recollection of life for women on the prarie and the strength necessary for them to possess.
Controversially, West Texans despise the entire concept because it paints our beautiful land of thorns and honey like a desolate wasteland. In reality, Texas is no lush forest, but its no jungle either. Water is scarce, as the book pronounces, but it IS the Chihuahuan desert. The book talks about the beautiful sunrises and sunsets with awe like the rest of us do, but fails to regard the mountains and rock structures, the fireflies and the warm breeze that reassures life, the incredible nature and wildlife and views of the night sky like I have never seen before.
I loved this book, and did not hate it like my fellow West Texans. I am not a native Texan though. You decide if I have the right to pride.
In contrast, it made me homesick for my land, goat heads and all.