February 8, 2012

It's a (Wo)Man's World • The Whip

The Whip book cover
The Whip by Karen Kondazian
Publisher: Hansen Publishing Group, LLC
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || e-book
[I received this from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

THE WHIP is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man. 

As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love and had a child. Her husband was lynched and her baby killed. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the murder. 

The Whip is a departure from the type of novel that I usually read, as I never really read novels with a Western theme. It's written in an engaging, interesting style - and I found myself thoroughly interested in the life of Charley Parkhurst. The author managed to keep my interest and I'm definitely glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone for this one.

The Character

Charley Parkhust, who in reality is actually Charlotte, is a character that faced incredible adversity but managed to rise above it and make something of herself. I could sympathize with the loss, pain, anger and abandonment that colored her existence, but I found myself feeling incredibly glad for her as she discovered that she could make her way in a world determined to be set against her.

The Story

The book chronicles Charley's life, from the moment she is abandoned as an orphan until her death. It's an incredible story and definitely elicited a myriad number of emotions from me - happiness, sadness, and anger chief among them.

It was an inordinate amount of injustice that Charley experienced. I could not believe how one person could withstand all of that - and the fact that she did and managed to make something of herself definitely left me in awe as I finished the tale. I was sad to read about her death, but I felt very fortunate to have borne witness to her adventures (even if not all the details might have been the actual truth).

Personally, I say you should...

... try The Whip if you're looking for a read that basically comes across as an adventure and a memoir at the same time. It may indeed be a step out of your comfort zone, like it was for me. And I'm not going to deny that this book isn't for everyone. But I'm actually really glad I gave it a chance. It was definitely worth the read.


  1. I don't think I would have given this a chance. The summary of the book sounds kind of sad and depressing. And I've also never been one for westerns. I really liked your review, though. Maybe I'll have to read a western sometime! Haha.

  2. If I find any good Westerns, I'll definitely let you know. This read was certain different, but I did enjoy it :)


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