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The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

The Year We Were Famous (edition 2011)

by Carole Estby Dagg

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867140,249 (3.75)None
Title:The Year We Were Famous
Authors:Carole Estby Dagg
Info:Clarion Books (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg



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I'm not sure I understand why other reviewers are talking about this as if it's to be read in school or as if it's a YA book. Sure, some teens would like it, but as I was reading I never guessed that it might have been marketed to them. I'd shelve it in the adult section no hesitation.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. I definitely learned a little history, and a little about family dynamics, and a little about the (never named but always relevant) manic-depressive mental health challenge. It's a quick & charming, not to mention inspirational, read. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
With its homespun cover, I expected this book to be something like Little House on the Prairie, but this tale of a nineteenth-century cross-country trek has a decidedly modern feel. There is plenty of fodder for discussion about the roles and expectations of adults and children, mental illness, sexual education, politics and race relations. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
I found this whole journey fascinating, as well as the mother and daughter characters themselves. It's based on a true story, and has some of the feel of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. The great tragedy is that the original journals didn't survive. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Very interesting book -- a fictionalized account of a real feat by the author's ancestor. The descriptions of the main characters' experiences as they walk across the United States are authentic and colorful. Interesting and a quick historical read. ( )
  dd196406 | Dec 23, 2012 |
In 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter, Clara, walked from Spokane to New York City to save their farm. If they reached New York within seven months, they would receive ten thousand dollars.
The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg is told from seventeen-year-old Clara Estby’s perspective. It recounts the trip, from tales of Indians and snakes, to a story about meeting the president’s wife. You get to know both Helga and Clara as they struggle through blizzards, storms, and deserts, and by the end, you feel that you understand them better than they do themselves. Letters received provide a background of their life back in Mill Creek, WA, and the letters sent give a peek into a more hopeful future.
This book is not without disappointments, though: Carole Estby Dagg, a great-granddaughter of Helga Estby, apparently thought that the story wasn’t interesting enough, and invented two love interests for Clara. And despite the fact that Clara is nearly an adult, the writing seems strangely childish. Events are dramatized and the journal-entry format feels slightly false.
The Year We Were Famous has its good and bad moments, but overall it is as entertaining as any other novel. But as you put it down, you can’t help thinking that it might have been better if Clara Estby had written it herself. ( )
  LuMint | Apr 2, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618999833, Hardcover)

A Note from the Author

Dear Amazon Readers:

My first memory of Great-Aunt Clara was from 1950: I sat on the edge of her bed beside her, looking down as she struggled to draw stockings over gnarled and vein-roped feet. I didn’t know it then, but fifty-four years earlier, those feet had trodden 4,000 miles in a heroic trek with her mother from Spokane, Washington, to New York City.

Clara and her mother, Helga Estby, had taken hundreds of pages of notes along the way, intending to write a book when they returned. But when they reached their farm, they discovered that two of Clara’s siblings had died of diphtheria before they could get home. The family vowed never to mention the ill-fated trip again. The notes were burned.

I couldn’t shake the injustice I felt. Clara and Helga had done what no women had dared to do before, and instead of being treated as heroines, they were made to feel ashamed for having done something as unladylike as tromping across the country. Snippets of their adventures from two surviving newspaper articles kept nudging me on. Escaping drowning in a flash flood by hanging on to shrubs, demonstrating their curling iron to the Native Americans they camped with, shooting an attacker, visiting President-Elect McKinley in his home—each of those incidents deserved the attention of a storyteller.

Some people are natural-born writers and storytellers. I knew I wasn’t one of them, but I still ached to be the one to tell their story. I quit my job as a librarian so that I could take classes, conduct research, and write. If there was anything I inherited from my ancestors, it was persistence. I kept learning and rewriting, submitting to agents and publishers, accepting rejections as a sign that I had to learn more and try again. I felt that Great-Aunt Clara wanted me to tell her story, and I would not let her down.

After fifteen years and twenty-nine rejections, I have finally given Great-Aunt Clara and Great-Grandmother Helga voices of the forward-thinking women they were, in The Year We Were Famous.

--Carole Estby Dagg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:41 -0400)

A novel based on the true story of seventeen-year-old Clara Estby's walk across America with her mother Helga in 1896, to win a ten thousand dollar prize and save their home from foreclosure.

(summary from another edition)

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