After my discussion with Geraldine Brooks about Caleb’s Crossing and the women of colonial America, I read Jill Lepore’s opinion piece in the New York Times last week with special attention. Called “Poor Jane’s Almanac,” it compared (in brief) the lives of Benjamin Franklin and his sister Jane.
Now it seems the article was based on a book of the same title, to be published by Knopf. It’s described as “an account of 18th-century America from the point of view of Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Jane Mecom, as revealed through their correspondence, contrasting Franklin’s philosophical, political and scientific career with Mecom’s life of drudgery, poverty and heartbreak, to portray what the American Revolution accomplished, and what it did not.”
Lepore is a fascinating observer of history and contemporary life—recently she’s written about everything from Paul Revere’s ride to the politics of breastfeeding—and she’s also the author of a historical novel (with Jane Kamensky) that we said was “full of beautiful narrative and wonderfully quotable lines” back in 2008. We’ll await this one with interest.