Book 1 for 100+ in 2009
Book 1 of 5 for War Through the Generations
Prior to reading Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas, I had never really reflected on the plight of Japanese Americans who were placed in internment camps during World War 2. I found myself drawn into this story initially by the strong voice of the narrator, Rennie Stroud. Several reviews I read compared Rennie with the famous character Scout from, "To Kill A Mockingbird." I felt that this comparison was merited as I was frequently reminded of Scout while reading this novel.
Tallgrass is really the story of Rennie beginning to question the world around her. She comes to a better understanding of her parents and their limitations. Rennie finds herself having to question the beliefs and actions of those whom she has always admired, including the Jolly Stitchers, the local group of quilters who include Rennie's mother in their ranks. Dallas created some memorable characters in the Stroud family, all of whom were individuals I would love to meet in real life. She also did an excellent job of illustrating the fear and paranoia that some members of the white population of a small and isolated town would feel in such a situation. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, although I did feel that the primary antagonists of the novel, the Stroud family, were in some ways too much the stereotypical cartoon villains.
This book was especially thought provoking to me as I reflected on the state of our nation since 911, and the new found fear with which we seem to approach those of Middle-Eastern descent.