Monday, June 4, 2012

The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

While browsing for books for the Western Genre Challenge, The Year We Were Famous caught my eye. The story of a mother and daughter crossing the United States on foot. In the 1890's. Sounds intriguing. I'm glad I gave it a chance. It was certainly an interesting story.
Clara and Helga Estby decided to walk across the United States to help save their farm in Mica Creek, Washington. They owed a $1000 in back taxes and couldn't think of a way to raise without doing something drastic. Helga was opposed to leaving the farm and moving to Spokane, Washington, the nearest large city. Clara was looking forward to leaving Mica Creek, going to college, and being away from her mother. Helga was bipolar but no one then knew what that was. Helga had episodes were she stayed in bed while Clara ran the household. Clara wanted her mom to get up and solider through these sad times but Helga couldn't. But then Helga would spring out of bed and want to clean the whole house despite the hour or what else was going on in the household. These manic periods upset Clara too since she knew Helga would run out of steam and head back to bed.
As far as I can tell on Wikipedia, Clara and Helga are the first women to have walked across the United States. A mysterious sponsor offered $10000 if they could reach New York by the end of November. I was in awe of how these women set out without a change of clothes, very little food and water to walk from Washington State to New York. They knew very little about the conditions of the rest of the country but went anyway. I enjoyed learning about Clara and Helga and loved their story. I highly recommend The Year We Were Famous. Others who shared their thoughts on The Year We Were Famous: Barn Talk, Caroline Bookbinder, Becky Levine, The Fourth Musketeer, and Damels in Regress.

1 comment:

  1. No change of clothes??!! Holy moly, my mouth was hanging open after I read your review and has me curious about these two women and their courageous journey!


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