What’s not for me may be for you – “Eighty Days” book review

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eighty-days

Just when I decide to start a book blog, I begin a book I just can’t seem to get into. Argh! I really wanted to read it because it contained subject matter that interested me but the presentation was just so boring. It was on page 61 where I decided to “throw in the towel.” Wondering what book has been the culprit of my demise. That would be ‘Eighty Days’ by Matthew Goodman.

Eighty Days has been marketed as a riveting, adventurous and informative book about two notorious female journalists, Elizabeth Bisland and Elizabeth Cochrane (Nellie Bly), who burst on the newspaper scene around the early 1900’s. Despite prevalent women injustice, they wrote courageously about relevant topics and stunned the nation by taking on the challenge to race around the world. I was so anxious to read this story because, although I had heard the name Nellie Bly, I didn’t know who she was or her significance. I had often heard her name mentioned in conversations in the context of courage and ingenuity. Naturally, I wanted to know how she had obtained such an esteemed reputation. I must sadly report that I learned more about Nellie Bly on Wikipedia than I did reading this book.

Pros:

Outstanding subject matter:

Two female journalists travel the world during a time when a woman’s life was popularly thought only to be a domestic one. This is pretty interesting.

Illustrations:

This book contains pictures of prominent landmarks and people such as The Times Building in New York, Elizabeth Bisland’s childhood home in Louisiana, pictures of young Nellie and Elizabeth and so much more.

Well Researched:

Let’s just say the author did not leave me wanting in the tedious facts department.

Con:

Reads like a textbook

Facts, Facts, Facts! I wanted to experience more emotion and atmosphere but I was bombarded with mind numbing facts about historical people, places, and transportation/technological advancement. I wanted to really know Elizabeth Bisland and Nellie Bly, understand their motivations and fears. There were times while reading that I couldn’t differentiate the two women even though the author provided information about their dissimilar backgrounds. Their personalities didn’t feel defined enough for me to care about them. I think this story would have benefitted if written as historical fiction or in first person. That way I would have felt like I really understood these women and the times in which they lived. Instead, I often felt like I was sitting in front of a radio listening to a news reporter tell about archaic events—disconnected.

You might like this book if you:

–          Are a history buff

–          Enjoy detailed writing

–          Enjoy pictures taken in the late 1800’s and 1900’s

–          Want to know more about early transportation and immigration laws and views

–          Want to know more facts about Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland

More books written by this author:

1)      The Sun and the Moon

2)      Jewish Food: The World at Table

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