A Review of "The Quilt Walk" in Reading Today
Reading Today (Oct 2012)
Conflicted about her father’s decision to leave the safety of their farm in Quincy, Illinois, for Golden, Colorado, where he plans to sell supplies to the gold miners, ten-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett is also excited about the adventure. From the beginning, the journey is not easy as Emmy’s mother and aunt must leave behind objects they cherish. As they head westward, Emmy is struck by how quickly luck can turn from good to bad. Although most of the travelers in the wagon train help each other out, there is one exception. Newlywed Mr. Bonner fails to pull his own weight, is arrogant and ill-tempered, and bullies everyone around him, particularly his bride, who constantly sports another bruise or sprain. The females in the party watch as his bullying escalates and look for avenues for her to escape. Although Emmy’s mother dutifully follows her husband’s wishes to head west, she puts her foot down at various points and asserts her wishes. Throughout the story, Emmy pieces together the parts of a small quilt her grandmother gave her when she left Illinois, a task she hates at first, but comes to enjoy in some ways, while many of the other women work on their own quilts along the way. The idea of making something beautiful and useful from fabric scraps is a powerful theme that is threaded throughout the storyline. This chapter book with a feminist slant provides insight into the roles women played as their men headed toward a different kind of life.
—Barbara A. Ward, Washington State University Pullman