Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Wild Girl by Jim Fergus

I read several books while I was on vacation in Colorado and this one was by far my favorite.  About a year ago I finished One Thousand White Women by Fergus as well and loved it.  My friend, Rocky, lent me the book and then gave me this one to read. It's always interesting to me how some people hit upon an author they like; it's like the stars and the moon aligning just right as you search a book store which is how he felt.  I appreciate his trusting nature because both books sat on my to-read pile for a few months before I had the chance to read them.  He's been patient with me though because he knew it was worth the wait.  Thank you, Rocky!

The Wild Girl; The Notebooks of Ned Giles, 1932 (2005) shares two separate stories  that merge into one well-crafted historical fiction gem.  From the point-of-view of La Nina Bronca (a Native Apache girl) and Ned Giles we can fully appreciate each angle of the story.  La Nina is hunted by the evil Billy Flowers and his pack of mangy dogs through wild Mexican terrain. He is an expert tracker and she is exhausted and starving.  Once his dogs tree her he takes her in to the closest town and drops her off with the local authorities. It was all about the hunt for him yet Flowers' part in the story is not over-he'll be back!  Ned Giles encounters La Nina Bronca weeks later as he comes through town heading to Mexico for an Indian Expedition meant to bring home a young Mexican boy kidnapped by an  Apache tribe.

Fergus writes well from a female perspective and it is easy to fall in love and have the most empathy for La Nina Bronca because he's framed her with such a beautiful yet violent story.  Ned also is an easily understood character as he is a young orphan out in the world searching for his way.  Fergus adds in a memorable cast of characters that help both Ned and La Nina Bronca along on their journey.  Tolley, a gay socialite, is hysterical and balances well against Margaret, the more serious sociology student, sent on the expedition to learn more about the tribe.  Billy Flowers and Indio Juan serve as crazy antagonist's on both sides of the clan.  

I hope Fergus continues to write and that my friend Rocky will keep lending them to me.  I read this one faster than One Thousand White Women so I'm improving my turn-around time-now I know that inside the pages of a Jim Fergus novel lies a good and enticing story!

Find more about Fergus here at his website.

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