Tallgrass

Tallgrass

An essential American novel from Sandra Dallas, an unparalleled writer of our history, and our deepest emotions...During World War II, a family finds life turned upside down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes (and suspicions) turn to the newcomers, the interlopers, the strangers.This i...

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Title:Tallgrass
Author:Sandra Dallas
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Tallgrass Reviews

  • Bob

    I loved this book! I bought a copy of it last summer when the author was signing copies in a little bookstore in Fort Madison, Iowa, and gave it to my wife as a birthday gift. Last week I picked it up at the library on CD to listen to while driving. listening to it was a pleasant suprise. The story begins in 1942 in rural Colorado as Japanese Americans are arriving at an internment camp. The story unfolds through the eyes of a thirteen year old local farm girl. It is a story of the tragedy of wa

    I loved this book! I bought a copy of it last summer when the author was signing copies in a little bookstore in Fort Madison, Iowa, and gave it to my wife as a birthday gift. Last week I picked it up at the library on CD to listen to while driving. listening to it was a pleasant suprise. The story begins in 1942 in rural Colorado as Japanese Americans are arriving at an internment camp. The story unfolds through the eyes of a thirteen year old local farm girl. It is a story of the tragedy of war, the prejudices that grow out of ignorance, as well as the triumph of standing up for what you beleive. This is not a book that I would have chosen for my self, under normal conditions, but the library's selection of books on CD was rather slim last week so I brought it home. I'm glad I stepped out of my normal comfort zone and listened to it.

  • Linda Hart

    Sandra Dallas is a talented story teller and this is an exceptional book with well-drawn characters and a compelling plot. I could hardly put it down toward the end. I like the following review by Susan Wyatt,"Books in the mystery genre are usually based on the assumption that order can be restored to the community by discovering and punishing anyone who kills another. To this author, however, justice is a much more complicated narrative."

  • Cathy Daniel

    I can't give this book enough stars. This will probably be an all time favorite book of mine. I loved everything about it and how it tied together in the end and the perfect epilogue. I was afraid I was feel beaten down by all the hate and there were plenty of hateful people but also the few great people. The parents were hands down the best characters. One of the few books I'll mourn leaving the characters behind!

  • Sarah

    Sandra Dallas is back! I had thoroughly enjoyed Dallas's earlier novels but was sorely disappointed with The Chili Queen so it was with some apprehension that I approached Tallgrass. Would she be able to deliver?

    Deliver she did. Only two or three pages in and I was hooked (the hallmark of a good book.) Unlike with some of her previous novels there are no quirky characters here, which is fitting as the subject matter does not warrant it. The central characters are likable. Rennie, the story's na

    Sandra Dallas is back! I had thoroughly enjoyed Dallas's earlier novels but was sorely disappointed with The Chili Queen so it was with some apprehension that I approached Tallgrass. Would she be able to deliver?

    Deliver she did. Only two or three pages in and I was hooked (the hallmark of a good book.) Unlike with some of her previous novels there are no quirky characters here, which is fitting as the subject matter does not warrant it. The central characters are likable. Rennie, the story's narrator, is tenacious and wise beyond her years yet vulnerable. Her father bears resemblance to Atticus Finch (although, to be fair, having heard him described as Finch-like prior to reading the novel I was predisposed to think of him in this vein and I'm not entirely sure I would have thought of him in this way on my own.) Rennie's mother is a woman of integrity,she is strong, determined, and compassionate. The Japanese interns whom Rennie's family employs are respectable and gracious. the trouble I had was with Dallas's overly black and white depiction of her cast of characters. The evil were so evil with no redeeming qualities to the point where they seemed to be almost caricatures. The same can be said of the Japanese. Though likable, they fit a bit too well into the stereotype of the subservient Asian, calm and sagacious. I envisioned them in a near constant bow (Ahhhh, Daniel san.)

    The plot is engrossing, though not entirely unpredictable. The ending is a bit abrupt, it does not correspond to the pacing of the rest of the book. I could not help but feel a bit cheated as I was left with several questions unanswered. Additionally, I simply was not ready to leave Ellis, Colorado, not ready to say good-bye to the Stroud family, not ready to return to the twenty-first century. I hate it when good books end!

  • ☮Karen

    A coming of age story set on a farm in Colorado near a Japanese internment camp during World War II -- what's not to like? It had every storyline I enjoy all rolled up into one neat little book. Loved it!

  • Eileen

    Set in Colorado during WWII, this story is convincingly narrated by a young girl growing up on a working farm. It has been compared to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, and I found that to be generally accurate. A Japanese internment camp opening in the vicinity immediately generates fear and distrust among the community. While a few had the vision to realize that many of the internees were American citizens who had been deprived of their property as well as their constitutional rights, general

    Set in Colorado during WWII, this story is convincingly narrated by a young girl growing up on a working farm. It has been compared to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, and I found that to be generally accurate. A Japanese internment camp opening in the vicinity immediately generates fear and distrust among the community. While a few had the vision to realize that many of the internees were American citizens who had been deprived of their property as well as their constitutional rights, general angst soon escalates to a fever pitch. The novel evolved convincingly around a murder, a rape, and the town bullies. Woven throughout was willingness on the part of a few brave souls to trust and take chances. The mystery element, coupled with an understated picture of everyday life in a farming community blended together well, yielding a good story. One sees the work ethic, the isolation, the teamwork in times of need, as well as the vital role of female bonding as a way of emotional support.

    I was interested to learn that such a relocation center, Camp Amache, did exist in Granada, Colorado, from 1942 to 1945.

    ‘More than 10,000 people passed through Camp Amache and, at its peak, it housed over 7,300 internees, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. Today, the Granada Relocation Center site consists of a cemetery, a monument, building foundations, and landscaping.’

  • Stacey

    3.5 Going into Tallgrass I was thinking it was about a Japanese internment camp. It's not really about the camp as it's about a small town where the new camp is located. Life will change and highlight the brightest and darkest of this small Colorado town.

    While this is a worhtwhile read, it's not my favorite by Sandra Dallas. I will look forward to her next.

  • Katherine

    Despite my seemingly average rating, this was actually quite a good book. But the content and dialogue in this book was so raw and so very much akin to our present day that it made me nauseated. I've never had such a reaction before, but this book made me physically ill.

    Something's

    Despite my seemingly average rating, this was actually quite a good book. But the content and dialogue in this book was so raw and so very much akin to our present day that it made me nauseated. I've never had such a reaction before, but this book made me physically ill.

    Something's happening in the small town of Ellis, Colorado. A Japanese internment camp has been built on the outskirts of town, with people arriving by the busfold. Most of the townfolk are displeased with this predicament. Rennie Stroud and her family are the only ones who don't have a major problem with it. But with a citizen is murdered, the blame quickly shifts to the new arrivals, with bias, prejudice, and hatred seeping through the seemingly perfect façade of this small farming community.

    I think my visceral reaction to this book had something to do with the fact that I live in a town very much like Ellis, and I saw myself in the Stroud family. The city I live in isn't a small town, but it had a small town feel to it. It's largely conservative and deeply religious, so being a liberal family in a town full of Republicans is not exactly a pleasant place to be. Furthermore, I live in a town with a large immigrant population (and a large number of them undocumented), and the tensions between the "Came Here" and "Born Here" can get high. So the dialogue and situations that the town of Ellis faced hit just a little too close to home for me.

    Those feelings aside, this book hits some hard truths on the reader both on our present day attitudes and a period of American history that I feel is largely ignored (or worse, romanticized). Thankfully, Sandra Dallas does neither, as she clearly relates to us the horror of the events that the Japanese people went through during their period of internment. How it must have felt to have your homeland turn on you and be betrayed by the government that's supposed to protect its citizens, not intern them. The land of the freedom became the land or horror for those interned.

    She doesn't shy away from it and she doesn't sugarcoat it, forcing the reader to confront their own beliefs and bias's and America's dark stained event of the past.

    An extremely important, hard to swallow yet necessary read.

  • Mindi

    The main character of this book is Rennie, a teenage girl who's family lives next to a Japanese internment camp in southeast Colorado during WWII. I didn't like this book because the characters were so one-dimensional. They were either good guys or bad guys, and no one ever changed or learned anything from the beginning to the end of the story. Of course, Rennie's family are one of only a few families that accept the Japanese into the community, and her family is the first to hire Japanese worke

    The main character of this book is Rennie, a teenage girl who's family lives next to a Japanese internment camp in southeast Colorado during WWII. I didn't like this book because the characters were so one-dimensional. They were either good guys or bad guys, and no one ever changed or learned anything from the beginning to the end of the story. Of course, Rennie's family are one of only a few families that accept the Japanese into the community, and her family is the first to hire Japanese workers on their farm. And of course, all the Japanese workers are patriotic Americans who are the hardest workers to have ever been employed on the farm.

    Without any character development, the only thing left to drive the story is over-the-top drama. Here are some of my favorites:

    1. Rennie's grandma has alzheimers.

    2. Her mother has a heart condition.

    3. Her brother is captured by the Germans.

    4. Her sister gets pregnant and moves to Denver so she can give the child up for adoption and no one in town will know she is "wild".

    5. Her best friend's father is a morphine addict who beats his wife and daughter.

    6. Her other friend is found raped and murdered and everyone in town blames the Japanese, but her friend's brother-in-law is guilty of the crime.

    7. When her mother's heart condition worsens they hire a young Japanese woman named Daisy to help with household chores. Daisy is raped by the same man who impregnated Rennie's sister and the rapist then tries to kidnap Daisy's baby after it is born. There is a struggle in Rennie's family's barn and the rapist is killed with a beet knife by Rennie's mother. The sheriff, who is friends with Rennie's family, agrees that it would be a great injustice for Rennie's mother to go to jail for killing a rapist, and agrees to report the death as an accident.

    The only reason I gave this book two stars instead of one is that I enjoyed the scenes in 1940's Denver, but mostly I feel like I just finished reading the script of a Lifetime Network made-for-TV-movie.

  • Cathrine ☯️

    I beg to differ. There is nothing about this that would put it in the category of “thriller.” In my opinion “historical novel” is stretching it as well. Inspired by historical events might fit. Some reviews and endorsements have also suggested that this could be considered in the same company with

    . Again, perhaps inspired by, with scenes and characters mirrored from that treasure of a novel is my takeaway.

    It was n

    I beg to differ. There is nothing about this that would put it in the category of “thriller.” In my opinion “historical novel” is stretching it as well. Inspired by historical events might fit. Some reviews and endorsements have also suggested that this could be considered in the same company with

    . Again, perhaps inspired by, with scenes and characters mirrored from that treasure of a novel is my takeaway.

    It was neither hot nor cold but rather tepid and was about as interesting as it would be to watch Stroud’s sugar beets grow. It took me a week to get through it because there always seemed to be something more compelling to do than read.

    I can say that sixty-five years after the fact, the portrayal of racial prejudice and fear among the locals when the Japanese are interned in the relocation camp on the outskirts of their home town reflects the climate of fear, concern, and politics with current day refugees and Muslims following 9/11. History somewhat repeating itself fits.

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