January Book a Month: Tisha

tishaAs part of Bas Bleu’s 2017 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Happy New Year, bluestockings! With a fresh new year comes a fresh batch of Book a Month features, beginning with discussion questions about our January selection, Tisha. Editor AG recalls:

When one of our lovely customers wrote to recommend Tisha as one of her very favorite books, I was intrigued. I got a copy of the flimsy mass-market version (with a truly dated cover and tiny type) and was immediately transported to the remote Alaskan frontier with the indomitable—and immensely charming—Anne Hobbs as my guide. I can see why the “wonderful true love story of a young teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness” sold millions of copies after it was first published in 1976! I enjoyed the tale so much, Bas Bleu inquired with the publisher about producing our own version of the book—with bigger type, a nicer cover, and in a standard paperback size. We’re delighted to offer it as our first Bluestocking Book a Month selection for 2017, and hope you are as taken with Hobbs’s incredible adventures as we were!

1. It’s astounding that in 1927, a nineteen-year-old young woman “green as goose grass and full of lofty ideals” would accept a teaching job in a tiny gold-mining community in the Alaskan wilderness. From where do you think Anne Hobbs drew her courage and determination? Do you think her decision to go was somewhat foolish? Can you imagine making a similar choice?

2. Hobbs is shocked by the stark conditions in the Indian village she passes through on her way to Chicken and wonders, “why do they live this way?” How does her understanding of the Indians evolve through the events of the book?

3. Aside from the bitter cold weather and the lack of readily available provisions, do you think Chicken would be a decent place to live? How to you think living in such an isolated community has affected the residents?

4. Hobbs faces much opposition from several people in Chicken because of her sympathy for the native population, which is further exacerbated by her budding relationship with Fred Purdy. How does she deal with the prejudice she faces? Do you think she opened anyone’s eyes to their own bigotry? Have you ever found yourself in a position to speak out against someone else’s prejudice, however subtle?

5. Hobbs’s decision to adopt Chuck and Ethel is a sort of turning point in the course of events. Did she make the right choice to take them? Do you think she considered all of the ramifications?

6. Why did Fred leave? Do you think all of his motivations were purely noble, or was it a cowardly choice?

7. Tisha is Hobbs’s experience “as told to” Robert Specht. How much of the narrative do you think was embellished or rearranged in service of a good story? Were you willing to suspend your disbelief at all?

8. According to townofchicken.com, Anne Hobbs Purdy died in 1987 and is buried next to her husband on their homestead in Chicken, where there are daily tours of her schoolhouse. Who’s up for a trip next summer??

20 thoughts on “January Book a Month: Tisha

    • We do hope you like it, Janis. When you’re finished, please let us know what you think! You can share your thoughts here or write a review on our website. Happy New Year!

  1. I was so excited when I received my first monthly book. We just spent a month in Alaska and I can’t wait to compare our experiences.

  2. I’d have never picked this book on my own but I truly enjoyed it! It really stole my heart. So pleased with the first book of the 2017 & cant wait for the rest:)

  3. Tisha was a thoroughly engaging and entertaining story and I enjoyed every page. As a Florida native now living in Oklahoma I can not imagine living in such an environment. The descriptions of the cold alone made me physically uncomfortable although I have always wanted to visit Alaska.

    • Thrilled to hear you enjoyed Tisha so much. Living in Georgia, we can’t wrap our minds around that cold…especially in the days before LLBean and Patagonia fleece!

  4. I was so excited to finally get the BAM for a holiday gift this year so my expectations were quite high – and Tisha did not disappoint! I would not have necessarily chosen this on my own, which is why I love the idea of this pre-selected collection right to my doorstep. Thank you!

  5. What a fabulous book! I would have never given it a second glance, and wasn’t super excited to begin it, but am so glad that I gave it a shot. I’m on page 200 and am counting the minutes until I can go read some more. It’s pulled me in and I’m pleasantly surprised.

  6. I truly enjoyed reading Tisha. I would never have picked the book up on its own but once I started reading it I was hooked. Thanks for making it as the first selection for 2017. I felt is was back in 1927 in the wilds of Alaska and admired Anne’s spunk.

  7. What a fascinating adventure! I too would not have chosen this book, has it not been in my box of books. I have given it to my 12 year old granddaughter to read this summer. As it turns out, her school requires her to read 2 books before Sept.!

    • The only thing that makes us happier than hearing how much a reader enjoyed one of our books is hearing that TWO readers are enjoying one of our books! Thanks for sharing, Annette…with us and your granddaughter!

  8. I read this book back in the 80’s and still have the yellowed copy (the one in small type with a dated cover) on my bookshelf. I work in a school & to encourage myself I wanted to re-read Tisha before returning for the new year. I WAS encouraged. I read it in one weekend. I couldn’t put it down. Her story is so compelling and inspiring. I wish there was more information about her and her family on the web other than the same paragraph copied on every single website result. I’d love to know more about what happened to her and Fred. This would make a GREAT movie! Why hasn’t anybody done it yet??!

    • TISHA would make a great movie! Some producer/screenwriter should jump on that. Here’s hoping your re-read provided you with the inspiration you needed to dive into a new school year. Teaching is such a demanding job, and dedicated teachers are so valuable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.