Friday, February 9, 2018
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin
The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).
I love reading LGBTQ+ books. As an openly bisexual woman, I love learning everything I can about the subject. I also love reading stories that make me feel accepted, like it's okay to be who I am. I recently was browsing through the books I own that I still need to review, and saw The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. I really wanted to read it because I don't know much about the LGBTQ+ community in the late 1800s. It was a good book, even though I didn't enjoy all aspects of it.
For the most part, I really did enjoy reading The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. I loved learning about some LGBTQ+ history. for as much as I read, I had no idea that the whole thing with Oscar Wilde happened. It made me want to look into it more, and research it. I'm hoping I can find some more books that will tell me about it. The 1800s are rarely talked about in the LGBTQ+ history books I read. It was interesting to get that perspective in history. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I genuinely cared about these characters. In the end of the book, something tragic happens, and I found myself in tears over it. I empathized with the character so much, it was like I felt her pain. Even Josie, who was a horrible, reprehensible, racist, homophobic jerk made me feel a little sympathy for her.
Even though I really enjoyed the book, I did have a couple of problems with it. There is a somewhat incestuous relationship in the book that really grossed me out at first. Two of the characters are cousins in a relationship together, and that took quite a long time for me to get over to be able to enjoy the book. Even now, still thinking about it slightly grosses me out. I know it was a more common thing back then, but I just can't deal with it. Another thing is that I wish the author would have done a bit more research to make the book historically accurate. For example, one of the characters uses the phrase "Whatever", which wasn't used until the 1960s. Also, while treadmills were around at the time this took place, they weren't used for exercise until 1913 when a patent was filed. Little things like that kept taking me out of the story, which is a shame because it was such a good book otherwise.
I really enjoyed The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. It was a great LGBTQ+ book that taught me so much about the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Granted, I did have a few problems with it. However, I don't regret reading the book at all. The storyline kept me interested throughout, and I loved the characters. I would probably recommend the book to someone who wanted to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community in the late 1800s without reading a textbook-like version.
I give The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap: 3.5/5.
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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.