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Our Lady of the Prairie

by Thisbe Nissen

Our Lady of the Prairie by Thisbe Nissen X
Our Lady of the Prairie by Thisbe Nissen
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  • Published Jan 2018
    384 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 14 member reviews
for Our Lady of the Prairie
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  • Joan P. (Owego, NY)
    Our Lady of the Prairie
    This book has more plot lines than most trilogies. Each, if fully explored would make a book. The main story concerns Phillipa who leaves her husband of 26 years for a colleague, Lucius. Phillipa and Michael have raised a I dysfunctional daughter, Ginnie, who seems to have found happiness with a lapsed Amish boy, Silas. Their wedding takes place during a tornado. Ginnie's friends Linda and Randall have a big role in getting the wedding performed. They are sponsor and sponsee in NA and have their own story. Michael's mother, Bernadette, has no discernible past and says that Michael's father died in WWII. Throw in the stories of Regina and Creamer, people met at the Gas Stop Bar. The book explores mid-life confusion, bulimia, a Presidential campaign angst, pro-life and pro-choice arguments, and even Nazi collaborators in WWII. I found bright spots in the writing and even passages that were memorable, but I felt that there were too many side trips that that were distractions from the main plot.
  • Joan V. (Miller Place, NY)
    Our Lady of the Prairie
    I really enjoyed the way Ms. Nissen used language. There were scenes where her descriptions made me almost laugh out loud. She made a tornado funny!

    This book would be a fabulous choice for a book club because it was so confusing at times that I really wanted someone else's opinion to clarify things. At times she was all over the place - politics; flashbacks to French collaborators and then a fantasy ending. She also changed scenes very quickly ending one paragraph and then jumping into a scene several hours, or days later. It became confusing and the political rants didn't enhance the story. I also could have done without the spanking scene which seemed to go on forever.

    Phil was not a very likeable or relatable character as others kept remind her she "just didn't get it." sadly neither did I.
  • Carm D. (Omaha, NE)
    Our Lady of the Prairie
    Very difficult to get through. I did not like this character, did not feel empathy for her. It seems this author chose to write about an area of America she does not really like. It was a waste of time. Being a Midwesterner, I was offended.
  • Susan S. (Lafayette, CA)
    Not what I was expecting
    I waffled between two stars and three stars. Three stars, because even though I did not like the book, sentence by sentence the writing was good. Two stars because I really disliked the main character, and was filled with irritation while I read. I think the author expected the reader to like her (or at least not supremely dislike her) and I was mystified about why other characters in the book liked her, particularly her husband and the other man who is also in love with her. We were also told repeatedly about what a saint she had been during a very difficult period in her daughter's life, but it didn't feel believable, given what I had seen of the character. I really wanted and expected to like this book, but, sadly, I didn't.
  • Ann L. (Park City, UT)
    Not my favorite
    Positive: it is an easy read; not at all tedious. Negative: this book comes across to me as the author's platform to vent her negative political thoughts, and negative opinions of midwestern people. The plot is very thin, the characters boring and not well developed. It reads like so many novels of dysfunctional families, however with no depth or originality.
  • Nona F. (Evanston, IL)
    Difficult protagonist
    Phillipa Maakestad has a reputation as "moody and erratic ... difficult to work with," and says and does things throughout this novel which even she sometimes acknowledges as being "stupid and selfish." She lives in an Iowa that perpetuates the stereotype that the Midwest flyover states feature only farmland, bad weather, lack of cell service, one-star motel rooms, and truck stops where all food is fried and someone who looks like the Unabomber is always nursing a beer at the bar. Culture is an indifferently-directed (by Phillipa) university production of Drood! The end –of-the-world scenario Philippa agonizes over after the Bush presidential election victory over Kerry seems sadly dated in view of our last election. And though Phillipa says she's "a typical American" heading west on a highway, her dream of the ideal life for her family, friends and acquaintances takes place in France.
  • Nanette C. (Punta Gorda, FL)
    Uappealing Protagonist and Forced Story
    While the book had some enjoyable aspects, I ultimately found Phillipa highly irritating and unappealing. I finished without any understanding of her interior life (other than "woe is me") or how either the long-suffering Michael or the sexy Lucius could put up with her, much less love her. Nor did I understand her compulsion for immediate confession -- it seemed selfish more than anything else -- or the whole spanking scene. What was THAT supposed to represent??? I did like the chapter in which Phillipa dreams of a Nazi collaborating family for her mother-in-law, but I didn't get her obsession with her hated mother-in-law's secret past. It seemed a very forced as a tie-in to Lucius' work. Overall, a book that has some potential, but not one ready for prime time.
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