I made enough progress in Bob Thomas’s book to know that Walt Disney and I would have gotten along well. I just didn’t make time to read about the man’s life when I was surrounded by his work, and I was too tired to read on the plane ride home. So it’s time to blog about another little book: The Trouble Woman by Clara Morris.
Despite being published in 1904, it was very easy to read. Morris has an artful style that creates a vivid image of the story’s events. The voice is compelling in both its childlike innocence and its maturity. It clearly shows why the story is important and how it affected the narrator.
The story itself wasn’t at all what I expected. From the title, I anticipated something more like Dekker and Middleton’s The Roaring Girl. Instead, it featured a different kind of strong woman. There is an appeal to that, though I took issue with her repetition of “You call that trouble? I don’t!” While going out of her way to help anyone experiencing a setback, she’s still saying they shouldn’t be too upset. Later on, it becomes evident that her reasoning is basically “I’ve had it worse,” which is not an acceptable standard for suffering.
And yet, it adds an interesting level of complexity to this otherwise ideal woman who gives of herself until everything is taken from her and then gives even more. Her actions and her mere presence exude sympathy and compassion while her words belie that by suggesting they have no real reason to be upset. Even her interaction in the woods with the young narrator shows her many facets, as she comforts her like a daughter before telling her of her own sorrowful past. It gives her depth that many modern writers struggle to bring to their female characters.
If you want to read older books, this is a good one to start with: it’s short, interesting, easy to ready, and yet not too simplistic. It’s not one of my favorites, but I did enjoy the time I spent with it.