Book Review, Four Score and More by La Vera
I found parts of La Vera Edick’s memoir interesting and other parts, such as her time as a Stanley representative and manager not necessary. I also thought there were too many poor-quality photos, obviously personal ones, taken years ago.
I’m not really surprised at the problem of too much writing about non-essentials nor about the photos. The book was published by Trafford Publishing, a self-publisher that takes the clients money and publishes the manuscript. Trafford Publishing has no address in the book, and I found none on its website.
That being said, the part of the story dealing with her childhood in Nebraska and early adulthood was interesting and contained information I found helpful.
An example of superfluous writing is on page 187, “Ike returned from Korea to find his fiance (“fiance” is correctly “fiancee”) pregnant with another man’s child. I was recovering from a divorce after a 10 (“10” should be spelled out in a text and here with a hyphen following.) year marriage. Maybe we should have taken a “breather!” We were, no doubt, both lonesome souls and a friendship soon developed that led to marriage. I don’t remember a romantic marriage proposal; I think we just mutually agreed that we were in love. I had a professional photograph taken and gave it to him as an engagement gift.
“I became very angry the night before the wedding when Ike pushed me against a wall during an argument. I was tempted to call the whole thing off! Perhaps, he was too. We may both have had cold feet, however, gifts had been sent and out-of-town guests were there for the big day, so what could we do?” (The last sentence should be broken into two sentences with the first ending after “feet.”)
I know what I would have done. And I know that if you read these two paragraphs closely the grammatical errors will pop out to meet you. But what bothers me is that it has nothing to do with growing up in Nebraska.
The early-year part was pretty good, and informative, for example I had never heard of a “cob box” next to the wood stove. The family fed some livestock corn on the cob -- perhaps not cooked with butter and salt added -- but the critters didn’t eat the cobs. So the family threw the cobs into the cob box and burned them in the stove.
Other parts of the rural Nebraska story were just as informative and fascinating to read. As a kid, my mother had one of those old-fashioned tub washers, but she soon bought a modern one.
The book is not full of grammatical errors, which means either the author was educated in that department or the publisher, Trafford Publishing, did their editing chore correctly.
While no address for the publisher in the 2013 book, they are at www.trafford.com. No price is in the book, but Amazon lists it for $15.39 and $13.50 new paperback. $17.35 used paperback, and $3.99 for the Kindle edition.
While Four Score and More contains too much useless material, I think reading the parts about rural Nebraska make it worth purchasing.
Happy reading -- about the good old Nebraska days.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at email@example.com.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014