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Mattie Paperback – January, 1997
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From Library Journal
Inspired by the life of the first woman doctor in Nebraska, though not based on it, this first novel was written by a former president of the Western Writers of America. Dr. Mattie herself narrates in the informal style of an 80-year-old woman looking back on good days and bad in a long life. In 1885 she became the first woman student in the Omaha Medical College. That took courage, a quality Mattie never lacked as she struggled for years to gain recognition as a competent and progressive doctor. Her career proved more successful than her personal life, which was marred by an unfortunate marriage that ended in divorce. Troubles and all, Mattie is worth reading about in this very pleasant book. Sister Avila, Acad. of Holy Angels, Minneapolis
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It seems to me there should have been more struggle, tension in the book. The first woman physician in rural Nebraska surely would have faced some challenges from residents, especially men. Mattie felt Jim had taught her so much, but she couldn't have had too much contact with him (other than later in Nebraska) since they parted ways when Jim and her mother left and she moved to be with Dr. D and his daughter. Epilogue was rambly, too long.
Most of the book deals with the travails of such a life, ie: the long travels across open prairie, the hard existence of dwellers on the frontier, the triumphs and sorrows of everyday life for those who chose to live outside of an established city/town. It is told in first person dialogue by Mattie herself.
Judy Alter's MATTIE features a woman who in many ways resembles today's youth. Mattie is merely dressed in frontier clothing and turned loose in a pioneer setting. In Judy Alter's hands Mattie will do much more than have adventures. In overcoming gender barriers, the girl becomes a young female doctor who discovers the gifts of her mind, apprentices to people who teach her and steps into maturity knowing who she is and what she wants without letting "life" get in her way.
Even though this is a fairly good book, I do not enjoy spending 1-2 hours on a single chapter. This book has only 5 chapters and an epilogue. I know of very few authors that write such long chapters. Most of them I have never read again. But if you enjoy VERY lengthy chapters, then this book is right up your alley. Only 3 stars from me though.