I do not very often judge another human being, but in this case I can tell you that Warren Jeffs is one of the most evil men on the face of the earth. I pray he NEVER gets out of prison. Although he has never actually killed someone (that we know of), nevertheless, he has taken so many lives and destroyed their freedom that he should and must be held accountable.
I have a hard time giving a non-fiction book five stars, for some reason. But this book was so fascinating to me. I have always loved the dictionary. Call me strange. You won't be the first. But I remember even in high school and earlier that when I looked a word up in the dictionary, I would get all excited as I got close to finding it. I just couldn't wait to find out all about words. I am still like that to a large degree. The most used app on my smart phone is the dictionary app. By far! Even more than Angry Birds . . .
Anyway, I found this whole story fascinating. The whole process of compiling the words for the first truly comprehensive dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, would make a good story by itself. Couple that with the fact that the most valuable contributor was for the remainder of his life, in an institute for the criminally insane for murder, and it becomes stranger than fiction. My heart was so broken for William Miner and the crazy mixed up life he lived. Nevertheless, it was only because of his dysfunction that he was able to devote so much time to working on the Oxford English Dictionary. While he worked on the dictionary, he was not bothered by the hallucinations that drove him mad much of the rest of the time. William lived a long life, but I can only imagine the relief he must have felt when he was able to lay his mortal body down and his dysfunction along with it.
I'm not often a fan of authors reading their own book, but I thought Simon Winchester did a good job of reading this book.
I have to say I admire the girl more than I imagined I would. She is strong and smart. And it doesn't hurt that she plays the harp (so do I). I can't even imagine the horror of the things she went through. The physical abuse was horrific, but the mental abuse was even worse.
I also admire her family. Her parents handled the situation about as well as it could be handled. I'm proud of them for never giving up, when the rest of us were sure she was dead. It gives me courage to read their stories and see how people can be strong in the face of devastating circumstances. It makes my troubles look small by comparison.
I'm not usually a fan of authors reading their own books, and I am sure Elizabeth would be the first to say she is not a professional narrator. Still, there was something honest and convincing in the way she read. When she emphasized a word or phrase, I knew it was authentic, and not a reader's interpretation of the author's intent. I like that a lot. It reminds me of another incredibly strong girl, Jaycie Dugard, who also read her own story.
Here's to you, Elizabeth. You did what you had to do, and you survived to tell about it--and you did it with style.
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I LOVED IT! If only more non-fiction books were written in this style; it reads like a story. Brilliant. It’s not dry and textbooky like most non-fiction books I have read (and that’s a lot, just check my library).
Most of the time non-fiction tends to be pretty dull, emotionless and little more than a long boring litany of: Fact. Fact. Date. Date. Fact. Date. Fact. You read it because you are interested in the information, but the presentation dulls your curiosity.
That’s not the case for this book, thanks to the story-style-set-up, it held my attention the entire way though... I never once got bored, or felt lost, or was mired down in a well of names and dates. I was captivated from the beginning to the end.