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Valentine: A Novel

Valentine: A Novel


Valentine: A Novel

valoraciones:
4/5 (156 valoraciones)
Longitud:
10 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Mar 31, 2020
ISBN:
9780062984739
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Nota del editor

#ReadWithJenna…

Jenna Bush Hager selected Elizabeth Wetmore’s debut novel as her April 2020 #ReadWithJenna TODAY Show pick. It’s a story about small-town Texas in the mid-1970s, as a community reels from an act of violence and economic upheaval. “For anybody looking for a great escape, this is a wonderful book,” Hager said in the announcement post.

Descripción

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

Written with the haunting emotional power of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, an astonishing debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s.

Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .

It's February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town's men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.

In the early hours of the morning after Valentine's Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead's ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field-an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.

Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader's heart, this fierce, unflinching, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women's strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Mar 31, 2020
ISBN:
9780062984739
Formato:
Audiolibro

También disponible como...

También disponible como libroLibro


Sobre el autor

Elizabeth Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Baltimore Review, Crab Orchard Review, Iowa Review, and other literary journals. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. She was also a Rona Jaffe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf and a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and one of six Writers in Residence at Hedgebrook. A native of West Texas, she lives and works in Chicago.


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156 valoraciones / 15 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (5/5)
    Captivating story, loved hearing from different characters. Well written! Great!
  • (5/5)
    Elizabeth Wetmore's debut novel, Valentine, takes place in West Texas in 1976. It's oil country, and a hardscrabble place to be. The story begins with Gloria, a 14 year-old Mexican girl getting into a truck with a man she doesn't know.Gloria is sexually assaulted all night long and beaten but manages to escape and make it to an isolated ranch house where a very pregnant Mary Rose is alone with her young daughter. Mary Rose takes Gloria in, and when the attacker comes looking for Gloria, Mary Rose holds him at gunpoint until the sheriff arrives.Valentine tells the story of how this event affects the women in Odessa. Mary Rose moves with her daughter into town, fearful of living so far from anyone else, while her husband stays at the ranch. She has agreed to testify against the young man, who comes from a well-to-do family who has gotten him out trouble more than once. The nightly phone calls threatening her only make her more determined to testify, even though her husband is furious at her for doing that.Mary Rose moves onto the street where Corrine, a recently widowed retired teacher lives. Corrine and her husband saw Gloria get into the truck with her attacker, and not stopping her haunted Corinne's husband.Corrine is grieving, drinking hard and avoiding all contact with anyone, except for ten-year-old Debra Ann. Debra's mom ran away and Debra spent a lot of time with Corinne's husband. When the young girl finds a homeless Vietnam vet, she helps him, bringing him food and keeping him company.Karla is a single mom who works as a bartender at the local bar/restaurant. She began as a waitress, where she was routinely harassed by the many men who came in for lunch and dinner. It's the only job where she can make enough money to support her child, so she must put up with their behavior, dodging the more dangerous men.Suzanne is a successful Avon saleswoman, the ultimate room mother who knows how to work a room. She came from "trash" and strategized her way to becoming one of the most respected women in town. She has a will of steel, and while people may underestimate her, it is at their own peril.The characters in Valentine are so compelling, and the story so powerful, it is a remarkable debut. I found myself drawn to Corinne and Mary Rose especially. Corinne's deep grief is palpable on the page, and Mary Rose's anger at what happened to Gloria fuels her desire to get justice for the young girl, and protect other young girls from a similiar fate.Though the men run the world in Odessa -"You raise a family in Midland, but you raise hell in Odessa" is a common theme- it's the women who must deal with this harsh world the men have created. They face dangerous sexism and racism. Each of these women have to figure out how to survive and thrive, support each other, and make the world better for the young girls coming up behind them. Valentine gets my highest recommendation, it's one of the best books I have read this year, and it is the Read With Jenna Today Show pick for April. It's suggested for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Elizabeth Strout, and as I love both of those authors, I highly agree with that.Thanks to Harper Collins for providing a review copy.
  • (5/5)
    The year is 1976 and Odessa, Texas is experiencing an oil boom. Men from different locations have all come to the fields, looking for work and a chance to make big money. They are hard working, but also hard drinking, which creates potential problems for the women in the town.The book opens with an act of violence against a 14 yr. Old Mexican girl. When she turns up on Mary Roses doorstep, her horrifying condition brings out the defender in her. Her defense of this girl and the violence done by the young man who arrives shortly after looking for the girl, will change the life of her family.Many in the town defend the young man and Mary Rose receives threats and pressure to not testify. Many in the town think the girl was asking for it and even if not she was only a Mexican so what does it matter.We hear from the women themselves, those who support Mary Rose and try to help her. We hear from a young ten year old girl, whose mother has left and whose father is always working. She befriends a young man who is living in a drainage pipe. Soon things will get out of control.Terrific renderings of time and place, one feels as if they were living in this dust laden town. The way the story is put together reminds me of Elizabeth Strout and the way she structures her stories.. This is about women living within and trying to avoid the potential violence that is all around. Women's strength and vulnerability. Although it is violence that starts this story it is not a thriller, but rather about a town divided by racial injustice and how the women cope with what has happened and their lives as they try to hold on to what is important. This is a terrific book with a real message that is even more important today.ARC from Edelweiss.
  • (5/5)
    It’s hard to believe this is Ms. Wetmore’s first novel. Told from the point of view of several women living in the oil country of west Texas in the mid-70’s, all of the women are flawed in one way or another, and yet as we hear them tell their story, we understand why. From a young Mexican girl who has been raped, to women who had to leave high school because of pregnancy, to a drunk old woman who, they lay their feelings right out there. But its D.A., the 8 year old whose mother left her has the most poignant story and at the end I have the most hope for her and found her to be the bravest of all. And even in a less hostile climate and the arid region around Odessa Texas, it makes me realize that most likely my neighbors are presenting public faces that don’t mirror struggles they are going through. I still don’t understand why it is called Valentine. A man called a woman Valentine, and a reference is made by one of the women about something that happened on Valentines Day, but that’s all I saw.
  • (4/5)
    Wow. That's a gut punch. Raw, gritty, and profound. It made me feel l just read some Appalachian noir. Set in West Texas during the late seventies; a fourteen year old Hispanic teenager is brutally and horrifically raped and assaulted and it tears the small town of Odessa apart. For many of the Bible thumping, good ol' boy residents, that young boy (who works in the oil fields) is innocent until proven guilty. Besides she was asking for it! For Mary Rose the woman who found poor Gloria, bloodied and barefoot after crawling across the desert to escape the man who brutalized her, it's insane that anyone could place blame on the girl. She's only fourteen, she's a child! Told in alternating perspectives from different women in the town; this story will captivate, enrage, and haunt readers. Wonderful storytelling!
  • (5/5)
    Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore is a 2020 Harper publication.Phenomenal Debut!After fourteen- year old Gloria Ramirez is beaten and raped, she escapes her attacker, finally making her way to the doorstep of Mary Rose Whitehead. Mary Rose was home alone with her daughter, but bravely keeps Gloria safe with so small danger to herself. However, once the immediate threat has passed, Mary Rose discovers the community is far from impressed by her act of courage and heroism.Because the accused rapist is a well- connected young white man and Gloria is a Hispanic girl- Mary Rose’s non-conformity not only earns her sharp rebukes from other women she associates with, but she could be the target of revenge- especially since she refuses to let the matter die.Eventually, the boiling hot stew of racism, misogyny, injustice, fear, and stress, brings Mary Rose to the brink of madness…I chose this book for several reasons. One, it was set in Texas in mid-seventies- in Odessa- and because I noticed how well it was received, and because I just had one of those feelings- like the book was calling me.My instincts paid off- but this book was far more impressive than I had anticipated. In fact, I’m not sure my review could do this book justice.When Mary Rose lays eyes on the battered Gloria Ramirez, she sees the hard, cold truth about her environment, she fears for her daughter’s future, and knows that someone has to speak up for Gloria, that someone has to fight for her, because evidently, no one else will.Yet her determination to see justice done, to testify to what she saw and experienced that fateful day when Gloria came to her home, will place her in a very dangerous position, heightening her distress, but never beating back her courage. Still, her constant worry takes a toll on her mental state, the pressures and internal turmoil eventually reaching a breaking point.The author absolutely nails the atmosphere of Odessa: The seclusion, the attitudes, the climate, and the economical tension bubbling beneath the surface-while exquisitely capturing an era of time where women are mere extensions of their husbands, where their jobs are to be someone’s wife and someone’s mother.The accurate divide between class and race is vivid, and painfully drawn as are the stellar characterizations. Besides, Mary Rose, whose husband is often away and who is pregnant with her second child, her neighbor Corrine, a recent widow, instantly wins my respect. The two women form an unlikely bond, sharing the same feelings of frustration. I loved the way Corrine protected Mary Rose and stuck up for her, keeping a watchful eye on her.Debra Ann, a child whose mother abandoned her, and who is left mostly to her own devices, is also a vibrant character who befriends a homeless war veteran.Each character has an internal dialogue, giving the reader a personal and intimate look at their thoughts, revealing their hopes, fears, regrets, and longing. It is easy to lose oneself in each of these narratives, which are like vignettes inside a broader story. This strong feminine cast shines brilliantly against the stark, gritty reality of the old dusty oil town, and will leave an enduring imprint on my soul.Overall, this is a gritty, compelling, and powerful debut. It is unflinching, no holds barred, driving home a clear message that will resonate with many readers and women who still fight against a system that favors ‘good ole’ white boys, who come from a good family’. Trust me, the author knows and understands this landscape intimately. The love/hate emotions for Odessa and Texas is palpable, and although I’ve never made it that far west, on many days, that conflict is a feeling I know all too well.Yet, despite the stormy, and nearly unbearable, suspense, there is also an undertone of sensitivity, too. The writing is splendid- goose-pimply good- drawing comparisons to some heavy hitters in Texas literature. This one earns a top spot on the 2020 favorites list!Hitting the recommend button on this one!! READ THIS BOOK!
  • (4/5)
    Valentine is a powerful, hard, debut novel. Set in 1976 Odessa, TX, a vast, desolate land, where oil drilling reigns. The story revolves around the rape of a 14-year old Mexican girl, and told from five women's/girl's points of view. Times are tough, and the men are tougher, racists and misogynists, justice non-existent. Throughout the book, the author's love of the land and the characters she created is evident and strong. She makes you feel the desolation and the desperation, and root for the main characters, each dealing with their own personal tragedies.
  • (5/5)
    Stories can save your life. This, Corrine still believes, even if she hasn‘t been able to focus on a book since Potter died. And memory wanders, sometimes a capful of wind on a treeless plain, sometimes a twister in late spring. Nights, she sits on the front porch and lets those stories keep her alive for a little while longer.Told from multiple perspectives, the book opens with a ghastly attack on a young girl in the 1970s Texas oilfields. She escapes and finds a rescuer: a young farmer's wife who prevents the attacker from removing all the witnesses to his crime. The book then pitches into an entirely different tone, from that dramatic and edge-of-your-seat tension, to the slow crawl of the wait for the trial. The farmer's wife slowly goes out of her mind with the threats and the small-town attitudes to a young girl left out on her own at 14. It is implied that she is ruining the life of some young man who grew up in the town. The elderly lady over the road is mourning her husband, killed accidentally on a "hunting trip". Another woman has up and left her young daughter and husband, tired of the hopelessness of her life. The violence of the town, and the hopelessness, is related by the author to the violence meted out to the original occupants. The blurb from the publisher compares this to [[Elizabeth Strout]], and certainly the layering approach of narratives told from different perspectives is similar.
  • (5/5)
    This is the best book I have "read" in a long time. It's beautifully written and narrated, and was a complete joy to listen to. I didn't want it to end! I only wish it wasn't the author's first novel so that I could go out and find another one.
  • (2/5)
    This book took me a while to finish. And it doesn’t feel like I finished it. It just seemed so unresolved with everything. I did enjoy how descriptive it was. I love books with different perspectives, however, this book had too many. It was hard to keep up with everyone. I also was not a fan of the going back and forth from the ‘present’ to the ‘past’. It may have been easier to notice the difference in the book but on the audiobook, it all just flowed together. It would go in and out of a memory and I wouldn’t be able to tell unless it mentioned someone not around.
    It was an interesting book but I kind of feel let down. I listened to the entire book and it just feels like the wasn’t much of a plot other than how one guy made several people’s lives living hell.
  • (5/5)
    This book is kind of amazing; I'm not sure why more people aren't talking about it. Each woman's or girl's voice lends another layer to the story's theme. A terrific listen, well performed, that does credit to the lyrical prose of the author.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book. I wouldn’t say it was amazing but definitely entertaining. I do however believe the narration was top notch
  • (5/5)
    Valentine allows readers to glimpse the life of young girls and women trying to find their way in the 70’s in a world dominated by men...heart wrenching yes but their story needs to be told and you will not lay this book down until they finish.
  • (5/5)
    Very descriptive and truly captures what life is like for women in W Texas, midwest too, during this time period. What seems abhorrent treatment of women seems tolerable in comparison to the treatment of Mexicans. The author honestly painted a complete picture of life in this area during this time. This isn't an uplifting book, however, it is a book about survival and inequality in this great country.
  • (5/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    “You raise a family in Midland but you raise hell in Odessa.”
    Odessa, Texas 1976...it’s a hot brutal terrain, not kind to man or animals and even crueler to women. A story that begins with a brutal rape quickly becomes a narrative of female companionship, championship and camaraderie. A brilliant unforgettable debut. Perfect narration.
    Mary Rose might just be my favorite fictional character EVER ?????

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona