The Blue Orchard

The Blue Orchard

by Jackson Taylor
4.3 36

Paperback(Original)

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Overview

The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor

On the eve of the Great Depression, Verna Krone, the child of Irish immigrants, must leave the eighth grade and begin working as a maid to help support her family. Her employer takes inappropriate liberties, and as Verna matures, it seems as if each man she meets is worse than the last. Through sheer force of will and a few chance encounters, she manages to teach herself to read and becomes a nurse. But Verna’s new life falls to pieces when she is arrested for assisting a black doctor with "illegal surgeries." As the media firestorm rages, Verna reflects on her life while awaiting trial.

Based on the life of the author’s own grandmother and written after almost three hundred interviews with those involved in the real-life scandal, The Blue Orchard is as elegant and moving as it is exact and convincing. It is a dazzling portrayal of the changes America underwent in the first fifty years of the twentieth century. Readers will be swept into a time period that in many ways mirrors our own. Verna Krone’s story is ultimately a story of the indomitable nature of the human spirit—and a reminder that determination and self-education can defy the deforming pressures that keep women and other disenfranchised groups down.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416592945
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 01/12/2010
Edition description: Original
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 261,470
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jackson Taylor is the Associate Director of The New School's Graduate Writing Program, which he helped launch, and where he teaches. For more than fifteen years he has been the Director of The Prison Writing Program at PEN American Center. His short fiction has appeared in Spit, Pink, Moss and Punk, and his poems have appeared in Lit, Sleeping Fish, Witness, and others. For three years he worked at The New York Times in the Culture, Arts and Leisure, and the National desks. He holds a BA from Columbia and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Manhattan and Greenport.

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The Blue Orchard 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found myself fascinated by the main chatacters ability to rise above her circumstance. Oftentimes, we forget that the people and things we ALREADY have are blessings
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story bring to light a topic which to this day is sensitive. The history of the time period with regard to race issues is as important now as then. Our nation still struggles with both issues daily.
worldreader More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time getting into this book at first and was surprised by its good reviews.  The first section of the book is quite slow but once you hit the second section it's a real page turner!  I ended up really enjoying the book once I got past the first 50-75 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this novel (based on the true-life story of the author's grandmother) to be nearly impossible to put down. It addresses a few very difficult subjects--abortion, the second class treatment of women, and the third class treatment of African Americans in history. The story takes place in the early 1900's up through the mid 1960s and while a lot of years have passed and progress has been made, we still struggle with these issues to this day. Many of us are torn between the moral implications of abortion and the societal way in which we treat those women who have children out of wedlock. Despite her flaws, I found I could relate to Verna Krone, largely because she seemed to be constantly wrestling with the choices she made. And because of her early life experiences, I could understand why she didn't see things in absolutes. This is a moving story, well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was amazed to find out that this is based on the author's grandmother.It's a wonderfully told account of the darker side of our history. Yet it makes one think twice about the moral implications in this era of illicit abortions.
zee12 More than 1 year ago
I found this book fascinating on two (personal) levels. 1) My mother was an RN during the time outlined in the book. Her stories were entirely different from the ones told in the story, and yet there were a lot of common elements. It was educational reading. The realities of abortion before it was legal are harsh, but women, especially, need to know these. 2) I live in the area represented in the book, and found the local history to be lively and interesting. I can understand that those who have read it and who live in another area might find the politics a bit boring...however, these local" politics strongly reflect the state of the Nation in that era. This is not always an easy read, as there are some harsh realities here, but I feel it is well worth the time and attention of the reader.
OurBookAddiction More than 1 year ago
I'm a little mixed on my review of this book. I found the first 2/3rds of the book to be engaging and extremely interesting. I especially appreciated the detail of abortion procedures pre Roe v. Wade. Many live in denial and pretend that abortion did not occur prior to its legalization. The opposite could not be more true and the deplorable methods that were used are just shocking. Where the book lost me was about the last 1/3 of the book where it went total into the politics of the day and just went on too long for me. I thought the characterization of Verna was top notch given what this woman went through at such a young age. It is more than I can even imagine. I believe this novel has a lot of historical accuracy.
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ljackson83 More than 1 year ago
Excellent!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It moved a little slow at times however reading this I found myself back in my grandfathers living room listening to his stories as I so often did and miss now. I felt great comfort reading this book. Very interesting, and gave me a greater understanding of just how hard times were back in the late 1800s to mid 1950s great piece of history that I hadnt really read before for that time era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The majority of this story was engaging and interesting, though I did find some of the love scenes contrived. My one fault was the almost "happily ever after" ending.
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nerdymama More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the Author's Notes at the back of the book, Mr. Taylor reflects on his decision to write this story as a piece of literature instead of nonfiction, despite advise from his peers. He should have heeded the advise of his friends. The story, based on a true story, is a good one, touching upon invasions of personal liberties, women's rights, and civil rights. Mr. Taylor clearly researched the subject well. However, the extent of this presented research just does not weave itself correctly into this work of historical fiction. I found that the book unintentionally divided itself into two different stories, an identity crisis of sorts; the first half being a decently-written piece of literature that captured the hardships and burdens of the main character. However, at some point, the story turned into a Who's Who of local politicians, pushing the plight of the main character further and further from the reader's mind to the point that she became a stranger. Multiple characters and situations vied for the central character and plot as Mr. Taylor inundates the reader with his research, and in the end, I could not really care less what happened to these once-well-developed characters. I believe that Mr. Taylor is probably a good author, but needs some serious work developing his fictional voice. Talented fictional writers are able to merely describe a behavior, and the readers should be able to infer the thoughts, feelings, and intents of the character. Mr. Taylor, on the other hand, overwrites. For instance, a chapter ends on a poignant note with a character laughing; that powerful ending would have left my mind dizzy for more, but instead, Mr. Taylor continues to write an entire paragraph more, listing (in question form!) all the reasons why this character could possibly be crying. This overwriting, this dumbing down to the reader, left me dumbfounded that an editor would not critique and change this. This is an okay read, and one that may prompt you to scan quickly over whole sections of the book; I'm quite surprised that it received such high reviews from other readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago