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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Lying in Wait
Liz Nugent
Progress: 28/310 pages
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Progress: 72/313 pages
To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines
Judith Newman
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Peter Godfrey-Smith
Progress: 41/255 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

The Measure of a Lady

The Measure of a Lady - Deeanne Gist Most of the time, I liked Rachel, but her black-and-white view of the world drove me batty. You either were a prostitute for life, or you were lily white, nothing in between.I could understand why Lissa saw her as a hypocrite. At every new development, Rachel seemed to be redefining the way things worked in order to suit her. If she lived purely by the standards she set for herself, there would not have been a single job she could have taken when they first arrived in San Francisco. She justified cleaning and cooking in Johnnie's saloon by defining the saloon only as a hotel during her working hours, and by saying that she refused to be around Carmelita, a former prostitute who still dressed provocatively in order to distract gamblers into losing more money. Technically, the only thing she did during those early days that truly fit her high standards was the work she did caring for Johnnie's trees. Had she really wanted to live a perfectly moral life, she would have married the naturalist.However, that doesn't mean Lissa's behavior didn't drive me crazy, too. What Lissa didn't seem to realize was that the only thing that saved her and Rachel from being treated like common prostitutes was their status as "sunbonnet women." Being a sunbonnet woman meant that some things would be more difficult - she and Rachel would have had to work much harder to earn a living. However, by choosing not to act like a sunbonnet woman, she was opening herself up to a life where, if Sumner chose to, he could have basically acted as her pimp, sharing her with anyone willing to pay. The thing that made him despicable was the joking he did shortly after he and Lissa first slept together, telling Johnnie that he might share her with him if he wished. Gist later tries to make it seem that Sumner may actually be in love with Lissa, but I doubt it. Lissa was an idiot, a fifteen-year-old idiot who had a temper tantrum, smacking Rachel when she had the gall to remind her that Sumner hadn't kept the marriage vows he made to his wife, so how could he be expected to keep any promises to Lissa?In the end, what it came down to was Rachel remembering that Jesus consorted with and forgave lots of prostitutes, and her realization that it's not her job to set the moral standards for everyone - all of that's between individuals and God. All that mortals like her can do is try to give people who want to turn their lives around a place they can go to and people who will help and support them. I can accept that.The historical aspects of this book were very interesting - this is not a period of time I've read a lot about. I knew a bit about the gold rush, but I didn't know about the specifics or what life was like - Gist made that seem very real.As far as the humor goes, that starts at the very beginning, with the first line: "This street is impassable, not even jackassable," which was apparently a real street sign. I'm sure Gist's research was fascinating. There was less and less humor as the book went on and people's lives started to fall apart, but I did like those early humorous bits.Overall, I liked this book enough that I'd read something else by Gist, and I certainly plan on reading [b:Maid to Match|6973771|Maid to Match|Deeanne Gist|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1258611802s/6973771.jpg|7213851].(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)