Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide
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"The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" by Robert Lewis Taylor
• Berry Gordy founds Motown
• U.S. Census Bureau begins to track poverty by race
• Hiram Fong first Asian American senator
W.C. Fields and Winston Churchill biographer Robert Lewis Taylor was inspired by Yale Library’s Western Americana collection and the journals of Dr. Joseph Middleton when he wrote “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.”
Featured Reader Wanted!
– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.
Father, son make BFFs, fight bad guys on Gold Rush trail
Jaimie realizes the identity of the gold-swindler couple.
Story and characters evolve via two perspectives. The storyteller teen’s youthful, maturing take on people and events is paired with the journals and letters of his father who sometimes whitewashes reality and other times reports as a historian, naturalist, or physician.
Long but lively 548 pages.
People rally around imperfect individuals. Intelligence, humor, kindness, helpfulness, a valuable skill, fairness and optimism are magnetic.
The prevailing attitude is the superiority of white people though the narrator’s viewpoint shifts. Attitudes toward and interactions with Native Americans are all over the map, though most tend to be awful. Lots of contrast shown between Indian tribes. Enslaved people in the novel are respected and ultimately freed, but by no means seen as equal.
No Donner party references. Course #1 Kentucky: cornbread, grits and chicken; burning the salad greens in fireplace optional. Course #2 Trail: Pork/bacon and biscuits on one plate. Acorns and grass on another.
Course #3; Salt Lake Mormon Party: roast beef, bear meat, pies, puddings, oysters, porter, ale, followed by dancing ice cream and more beverages.
#4 San Francisco: Your choice, secretive nips from a flask or salvation.
“Everybody wants to show themselves in a particular kind of way, the person they’d like to be, and whatever they say is put forward carefully to make up the picture. But not this Pretty Walker. She looked clear into you and saw everything you felt, so you could loosen up and be comfortable.”
If pioneer wagons are not handy, circle the SUVs. Set up folding chairs inside your circle and be on the lookout for bad guys and dinner.
How does Willie Keith mature during the novel? How does Willie treat women?
Someday… Chimney Rock National Monument in Southern Colorado. You might not see a wedding, but you can hike the trail and tour the ancient structures. Or take a San Francisco fire engine tour; you have no shot at staying in a tent in the center of town, but you can take a field trip to a nearby casino. Find a living history museum and ask about oxen and mules.
“The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters” aired as a 25-episode ABC TV series in 1963-1964.
“Two Roads to Guadalupe” by Robert Lewis Taylor.