Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Plot & Storyline Quality (1 point)
Jane Kirkpatrick’s recent novel, Something Worth Doing, is an intriguing historical account that fails to fully develop fictional aspects of the protagonist’s life. The novel chronicles the life of Abigail Scott Duniway, a journalist, non-fiction author, and early women’s rights suffragist who believed women in her state – Oregon – should be endowed with their God-given right to vote. Abigail was born into a large family of mostly daughters, and grew up watching her mother’s health fade with each child she bore. When childbearing finally became too much for Abigail’s mother, she died. Abigail vowed to never suffer the same fate as her mother, and to stand up for other women who had no voice during the patriarchal trend of the 1800’s. When an unexpected turn of events with her father’s second wife forces Abigail to seek a home of her own, she marries a kind man and starts a family of her own. But unlike many of the other women in her state, she uses her status as wife and mother to spread her message of free thinking and self-respect among women of all social classes. Will her efforts be successful? The plot and storyline in this novel are somewhat well-developed because the author closely follows the real historical account of Abigail’s life. However, the weaknesses in this area exist because the author barely deviated from being historically accurate. In simpler terms, this book is more non-fiction than fiction. All of the facts about Abigail’s life are true, but the story would have been more engaging and meaningful if she was brought to life through first-person. This being said, the narrative third-person writing style makes it hard to get to know the characters and makes the story more of a history lesson than a pleasurable read. While it is interesting to hear about an extraordinary woman who helped other women in Oregon gain the right to vote, it would have been nice to get to know the fictional person as well. For these reasons, this area of the novel earns less than an average score. Had it been in the non-fiction genre, the rating would have been close to perfect.
Character Development (.5 point)
As for character development, readers will find that Kirkpatrick’s characters have a few good moments, but are mostly underdeveloped. Abigail has a clearly defined personality, which makes the protagonist the strongest part of this section. However, too often we hear more about what she is doing when we should be learning more about who she is. Ben, Abigail’s children, and her other relatives are all below average minor characters because none make a lasting contribution to the novel. Thus, this area of the novel receives a below average score overall
Creativity & Originality (0 points)
Finally, there is nothing particularly original or creative to note here because the novel did not build on the original historical account through creative license. Therefore, we at BOR do not recommend that this book be made into a film. Christian filmmakers should look to other novels, especially those by relatively new faces in the fantasy genre (Morgan Busse, Patrick Carr) for quality content that would translate well to the big screen.
Wish List Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points