Looking for a book by vague description...
November 25, 2010 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Some indeterminate time ago, my mom heard about a book on the CBC radio, with a title like "No Ordinary Woman" or "An Ordinary Life" or something, a memoir written by an Indian woman around age 80 who may have been a housekeeper or household worker. It's not "A Life Less Ordinary" by Baby Halder. Any ideas what it could be?
posted by Capn to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not to be unhelpful, but I just wikipediad "A Life Less Ordinary" and it's about exactly what you're asking. I find it highly unlikely that two books on the exact same subject would have similar titles. Unless the one you're looking for is some sort of sequel or parody.
posted by threeants at 9:14 AM on November 25, 2010

Was it Maggie Siggins's Marie-Anne: The Extraordinary Life of Louis Riel's Grandmother?

From the author's site:

"Marie-Anne Lagimodière was the most extraordinary Canadian woman of the 19th Century. Grandmother to the great Canadian Reformer Louis Riel, her courage and passion would profoundly influence him.

Beautiful and spirited, Marie-Anne rejected suitor after suitor until she was 26 – a rebellion that was unheard of in 1800s Quebec habitant society. Then, shortly after her marriage to the handsome coureur de bois Jean-Baptiste Lagimodière, Marie-Anne insisted on accompanying him back to the uncharted wilderness of western Canada. The year was 1807, and no white woman had tackled the fierce wilderness of Canada’s fur-trading country. Marie-Anne travelled almost 3,000 kilometres by canoe brigade, facing tumultuous rapids, portages, and deadly storms on the way to the Red River Valley. She packed a flatiron for the voyage, a disturbing sign that she was woefully unaware of what lay ahead.

They arrived in the midst of tribal warfare triggered by the fur-trade economy, and fierce rivalry between the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Marie-Anne would experience near starvation at cramped fur-trading forts but also joyous summers hunting buffalo with Jean-Baptiste on the prairies. As she settled into life among the Aboriginal people, she soon traded in her dainty shoes and dresses for the caribou-skin leggings and embroidered moccasins. She gave birth to her first four children Indian-style. She learned to make pemmican and became fluent in Ojibwe and Cree. Eventually she and Jean-Baptiste helped with the establishment of Winnipeg and became successful farmers and entrepreneurs. "
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:16 AM on November 25, 2010

I remember the same CBC piece: she wasn't a aboriginal Indian, she was from India.

Can't remember the book title, though.
posted by timeistight at 10:28 AM on November 25, 2010

And, no, it wasn't "A Life Less Ordinary" by Baby Halder. The woman in the piece was upper class, married to some sort of government official. They were described as having a very loving relationship, although she had to struggle against his (and her society's) conservatism to acheive her independence.
posted by timeistight at 10:33 AM on November 25, 2010

Best answer: I found it! It's Bride at Ten, Mother at Fifteen: Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Woman by Sethu Ramaswamy. The CBC piece, by Sarmishta Subramanian, her granddaughter, was called A Woman of No Consequence.
posted by timeistight at 10:50 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That looks like it! Thanks timeistight!
posted by Capn at 11:11 AM on November 25, 2010

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