Saturday, March 28, 2009

Elm Creek Quilts series: Some thoughts

I have decided to stop reading and rating the Elm Creek Quilts series--at least for now. Mainly, I can no longer overlook the storylines that have been created for this book. I believe that historical fiction has to have some grounding in history, and these books feel very contrived and "over-the-top" to me. Practically all of them have a modern-day storyline with flashbacks to families of the past who once resided in the region. Now, I have no objection to this method of storytelling. What has made me decide to stop reading them is the fact that, as an African American, I have a hard time believing that events in the flashback stories described in the books could have even remotely happened. Perhaps I am just no longer a starry-eyed optimist (hmm; was I ever?) and unable to accept the degree of opposition to slavery that is described in the books. Yes, there were certainly those who opposed it, but to romanticize this period in history and its surrounding events is almost an insult.

There is also the fact that the myth of underground railroad quilts still, in a roundabout fashion, continues to be suggested. Again, the notion of using quilts to aid escaping slaves in their journey to freedom, which has not been proven to be true, is put forth repeatedly in these books. African American history is complicated enough without adding fiction and wishful thinking. I wish I could keep ignoring this and try to enjoy the books (after all, I am a quilter!), but I think I have just read my last book of this series, and written my last review. At least for now.

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