Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Post - Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley's World

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Book Post - Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley's World

Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley's World
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About the Book
Annie Oakley wasn’t a tomboy, but a rather prim and religious woman with a loving 50-year marriage. She was intent on appearing young, and when challenged by a younger woman performer, had publicists change her birth date to make herself younger. Blessed with long chestnut hair, she was horrified when her hair turned white literally overnight following a serious railroad accident.

These are among the true events and insights woven into Jeffrey Marshall’s historical novel about the legendary sharpshooter, Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley’s World (CreateSpace; May 2014; Paperback $8.95; eBook $3.95). The novel looks episodically at her amazing life, imagining many events and settings through conversations, meetings with famous figures such as P.T. Barnum, Queen Victoria and Thomas Edison, and places Annie could have seen and experienced.

Much of Little Miss Sure Shot is focused on Annie’s starring role in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which catapulted her to international fame in the late 1880s. Buffalo Bill Cody himself is an important figure in the novel – but far more central is Annie’s husband and manager of 50 years, Frank Butler. Their loving marriage was far and away the most important relationship in Annie’s life – and very unlike the depiction of their courtship in the musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Born poor on the Ohio frontier on the cusp of the Civil War, Annie never had a formal education but thrived on the grace of her prodigious shooting talent. Oakley’s legend lives on to this day, even though the height of her fame goes back well over a century. She maintained her amazing shooting skills even into the last years of her life, and like Amelia Earhart, was a woman ahead of her time – competing and making an indelible mark in a field dominated by men. The novel explores and celebrates Annie’s skill, some of the records she set, and her fortitude in recovering from a pair of serious accidents.

Little Miss Sure Shot is a quick and breezy read that strives to entertain readers with a compelling narrative that allows them to step back into the past and experience the places and events that shaped her life.

About the Author
Jeffrey Marshall is a writer, poet and retired journalist. This is his first novel but third book, having published a business book on community reinvestment more than 20 years ago and a volume of collected poetry, River Ice, in 2009. He has an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern. A resident of Scottsdale, AZ, he is a board member of the Desert Foothills Land Trust in Carefree, AZ.

My Take on the Book
This was an intriguing book. I started reading this with little understanding or conception of the true woman that was Annie Oakley. Instead my understanding about her was more what I remember from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. Let me tell you, this book sets the record straight and really lets you see Annie Oakley for the woman she was. She was a truly confident woman that could hold up against so many challenges. The author does an amazing job at personalizing Annie, letting you see her from her meager beginnings to the love she found in her own life, as well as the adventures that she went on and lived through too. This is a great start and I, for one, am hoping that the author continues to share more about Annie in the future!

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