Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's Crossing

eBook - 2011
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Once again, the author takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, she has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. The narrator of the story is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe's shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb's crossing of cultures. Like the author's beloved narrator Anna, in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha's Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011.
ISBN: 9781101525685
1101525681
Characteristics: 1 online resource (ix, 306 p.)
Subjects: Cheeshahteaumuck, Caleb, approximately 1646-1666 -- Fiction.
Wampanoag Indians -- Massachusetts -- Martha's Vineyard -- Fiction.
Indian college graduates -- Fiction.
Indian scholars -- United States -- Fiction.
Electronic books.
Biographical fiction.
Historical fiction.

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t
Tjad2L
May 13, 2019

Another gem by Geraldine Brooks! This historical fiction novel is about, Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard in 1665. The author tells the story in such a way that she jumps ahead in one chapter then goes back and fills in all the missing parts in the following chapters. It can be confusing at first but it is a unique way of telling the story. This is definitely a book I would like to purchase and I will be reading it again. I loved the use of Puritan and archaic terms- you might want to keep a dictionary handy!

j
JChristy_70
May 12, 2019

I enjoyed this read, a plausable snap shot of characters life, thoughts aspirations, and dreams, within the limitations of the time-frame Bethia lived.
It had all the ingredients of a good story, it described the emotions of the characters well, described the time, place and events, private and political well.
It did seem to rush midlife and endlife, it was sumerized, which was a let down ,a happy ending was not to be for the indians, but at that time, christianity was on a conquest to convert,according to history.
Bethia of course returns home to live out her days which she had longed for while away, according to the story.

Thank you for the opportunity, to read a book, I would not have picked myself.

m
maryebarr
Dec 28, 2018

This was a terribly disappointing book. While I enjoyed the peek into life in the colonies in the 1660's, it seems the author could not decide to tell Bethia's story or Caleb's. The plot details Bethia's life in detail from age 12 to 20 or so and then skips forty years in the future with little detail about her life her marriage on.

LoganLib_JennyI Aug 30, 2018

Pulitzer Prize winning Australian-American author, Geraldine Brooks tells the story of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University in the 17th century. Brooks takes a small piece of history and with research and imagination weaves this fantastic tale set in the Puritan settlements of colonial Cambridge.
I loved this book as it blended some of my favourite themes - education, philanthropy, religion, kindness, cross-cultural conflict, gender roles, coping with loss - and was based on a sliver of historical fact.

g
Grimace26
May 27, 2018

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book but I found it an enjoyable read and would recommend it to others.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 14, 2018

The first Native American to graduate from Harvard - in 1665. Friendship amid two very different cultures; compellingly drawn picture of Martha's Vineyard in the early Colonial period.

d
Dennis Robert Rue
Feb 08, 2016

Definitely a skilled writer with imagination coupled with good research who knows how to make an interesting storyline punctuated with enough fact, drama and romance to tow the reader along.
Will definitely try her other novels.

g
gusmcrae
Feb 03, 2016

Geraldine Brooks has to be one of the finest writers of our time. Her writing fully immerses her readers into worlds set in centuries past, and she manages to do so in a form that is truthful to the time and place of the book's setting. She gives us a glimpse into the lives of characters who are true to their time (and not modernized versions). Brooks' novels often explore the religious beliefs of the day, and often from the perspective of women.

"Caleb's Crossing" is based around the story of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, of the Wampanoag tribe--the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University. True to Brooks' storytelling style, though, the book follows a young woman, in this case, the fictional Bethia, a young Puritan girl who befriends Caleb as a child and who finds her life intertwined with his after her minister father decides to help educate Caleb so he can go to the Indian School at Harvard. Bethia is a natural learner, but is a female, and therefore, although she takes in as much knowledge as she can, she knows her life is restricted to that of serving as a wife and mother and running a household.

I very much enjoyed following Bethia on her journey from Martha's Vineyard, to Cambridge, and beyond. Every time I picked up the book, I felt drawn into her world (and so grateful for the freedoms I have that she was denied!)

With that said, the book was not the fastest read. And I can't say I felt as compelled to pick it up as often as I would like a book to do for me. But all-in-all, I enjoyed it, and came away with a bit more knowledge of my country's history.

PimaLib_MaryG Dec 07, 2015

Author Geraldine Brooks is an amazing writer of historical fiction. In this novel she creates a fictional friend of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, to tell a story of what it may have been like in the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Bethia Mayfield educates herself in two by eavesdropping on her brother's lessons with her missionary father and through secret meetings with her friend Cheeshahteaumuck, the son of a Wampanoag leader. I had to stay up all night to finish reading this.

b
BurtonP
Nov 25, 2015

This was captivating historical fiction from a girls diary perspective. I would've preferred it to be about fiction with a happy ending instead of the white patrons proving they could train this primitive savage (spelled salvage in the book-like some kind of salvage operation). Caleb's dream to help his own people/tribe was not realized because he died of malnutrition, cold and prejudice. Reflects history but did not make for a good ending.

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