Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Book Review: "Buying a Bride: An Engaging History of Mail Order Bride" by Marcia A Zug

Well, hello everyone. Long time no see :) 

Today for you I have a book I read during readathon! I have been so  whomp whomp about blogging and ocassional reading in general lately ("If I read this book it will be one more book I should be reviewing and if I don't review it I'm going to feel like a lazy bum and aaaaaaaargh"). I managed to pull myself out of my own dumb self loathing and read this book along with two travel guides to Philadelphia. (I'm going to have, like a free half day in Philadelphia. Any experts have a hot lead on something I can't miss?). At any rate, thanks to a goodreads list I found this book and you guys know how I love me some specific nonfiction. Shall we?

I don't know about you guys, but when I think off mail order brides I have a pretty sterotypical picture in my head. Blonde, eastern european, desperate to get out of their country and get a start in America even if it means marrying a much older guy they don't actually care about. There's a little truth to some of this but that's not always the case, and it certainly has not always been that way. 

It goes allll the way back to the early 1600s when Europeans were coming to what is known as the US and Canada now. With starvation and disease killing of a whole slew of settlers it became abundantly clear that these colonies were not going to make it - a lot of men were like "yeah, no I'm here to make my fortune and then I'll be heading back to England. Thanks so much". So with a high mortality rate and people not willing to stay and doing the long term dirty week of colonizing it was going to go bad. But, with the introduction of women, and therefore families, people were inclined to stay and make a go of it.

Interesting tidbits from this section:
-Tons of intermarriage between white men and native women. In A HEAP of cases the men ditched the colonies and went to live with their wives' tribe because, the Native Americans had their act together WAY more than the colonies.

-The woman who came over, in a lot of cases, had really great incentives to come, including the fact that if they became widows the law ruled in their favor for things like property.

-There was some really tragic and just bad situations for women coming into the Louisiana territory. Shudder.

There's also chapters on: picture brides (Asian ladies who marry men sight unseen and then come over to the US. Please read The Buddha in the Attic. It tells their story and it's short and heartbreaking and the thought of some of the stuff those ladies went through makes my heart clench.) war brides (not always popular with the hometown folk), women who went west seeking husbands during the pioneer/gold rush days (Ever seen Paint Your Wagon? When it's like, 1 woman in a town of 800 men. Yeah, that's not an ideal set up for anyone), and what we think of now as a mail order bride. There's also all kinds of interesting statistics in the chapter with current mail order brides situation.

Also right at the very end of the book they talk about gay men who are living in really scarily homophobic countries like Russia and Ukraine who are looking for love and greater acceptance in countries that are more open like the USA and Canada.

This book with it's super cute cover was a quick, easy read full of interesting facts that made it an entertaining read for readathon or any other time!


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