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Two Old Women, 20th Anniversary Edition: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival Paperback – November 5, 2013
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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About the Author
Velma Wallis is one in a family of thirteen children, all born in the vast fur-trapping country of Fort Yukon, Alaska, and raised with traditional Athabascan values. A writer and avid reader, she lives in Fairbanks.
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Top customer reviews
Two Old Women is based on an Athabascan Indian legend. A starving tribe of Alaskan natives leaves two old women alone in the freezing cold to die, because every mouthful of food is precious, and these two are unhelpful. They don't contribute to the tribe; they take from it. People have to help them. They complain constantly.
Once the tribe leaves them, though, they must decide whether to accept the death sentence or not. The younger woman, 75, says we might die anyway, but if that is so, let's at least die trying to live. So they adopt that motto. At least let's die trying. They manage to avert death by recalling long-unused knowledge of survival skills. In spite of their old, achy bodies, they thrive and bond with each other, but they are lonely and sad.
Eventually, there's a happy ending, which I'll let you discover for yourself. If you're like me, you'll reread it, crying with joy each time.
But the message of this book is multi-faceted. Elders can and should continue to contribute until the end. Youth should respect the elders for their valuable knowledge. All people benefit from this synergy.
Two Old Women is a short book. I read it in one evening. I heartily recommend it, particularly to those who are older and feeling ignored, useless, or confused. This book will get you up and moving, and it will make you happy.
This story is one that has great meaning and influence at a relevant time in my life.
I truly recommend it!
The message is clear: stand up and be counted, until the last day you are here on earth, especially if you are a woman.
This is a story to be read again and again. It's a small but powerful book which will stick in your mind for years. Read it aloud to children, or have them read it to you. The names are Inuit, but you'll get around that. This is a real gem.
It is not a political book but mirrors what happens with welfare as opposed to those who take responsibility for themselves and learn the self-esteem that comes as a result. These two old women were content to let others care for them and acted helpless while constantly complaining about their comfort levels, so the tribe came to believe that they were indeed a burden to the tribe that they could no longer support.
The two old women, after their initial shock, decided they would not just passively wait to die but to do what they could to survive. They learned new survival skills and honed long-disused skills to keep themselves alive, and in the process, they learned self-esteem and independence, one day at a time.
When the tribe came back in the spring, sadly expecting to find them dead, they were awed and thrilled to find the two old women proudly waiting for them, alive and in better shape than the rest of the tribe. They earned new respect, both from the tribe and for themselves, and a permanent sense of independence.
The story is very touching and profound at a very simple level...one of my favorite books. I've bought several copies to give away as gifts. It's a testament to the human spirit and what it can do. No one knows if it is a true story or not, but the spiritual truths are obvious.
The author states: "Within each individual on this large and complicated world, there lives an astounding potential greatness." The book demonstrates this truth beautifully. Thanks, Velma!