Book Review: Quilty As Charged

Quilty as Charged: Undercover in a Material WorldQuilty as Charged: Undercover in a Material World by Spike Gillespie

This is a hard book to categorize. When I borrowed it from the Library, I thought it was a mystery. When I started to read it, I thought it was a memoir. As I read it, I realized it was full interviews. The only thing I can call this book is a memoir full of interviews. I am okay with it not being a mystery, but I wish there had been more memoir, influenced by the interviews.

I thought the interviews were, mostly, out of context, not to mention poorly edited. In some cases the interviews were repetitive and nearly incomprehensible. I know that the author was trying to give us a sense of the voice of the interviewees, but I would have rather had more editing.

People say what they think, often, but not always as clearly as they would if they had the opportunity for a second draft. I think Ms. Gillespie should have cleaned up the stream of consciousness. I don’t think it adds to the book and verges on distraction.

With that criticism out there, the interviews were interesting. It was nice to read about Ricky Tims’ background and how he got started. One quote from his interview, which sticks in my mind is “So whatever I was doing in my freeness as an ignoramus, I ended up leaving that behind so I could learn to do it right. I went into the box, I learned to do it right, and for years that’s the way I sewed. (pg.47)” Later, he follows up with “Once he mastered traditional quilting-the technique for which he wins awards-he revisited his original style and began teaching classes in which he encourage students to cut without the aid of rulers.” These two quotes warm my heart, because they show that knowing how to perform accurate work (I won’t say “piece the right way”) matters and had value as does styles like Tims’ Caveman style.

Later, the interview with Tims has him saying “I wanted to learn to do it right. There were two reasons why I wanted to do it right. Number one, I wanted to challenge myself to excel. Why do things halfway? Number two, I think, comes into the dynamic I really often want to play down-that I’m a guy in a woman-dominated field. Because of that, I thought there was a need in me to excel, because my work was going to scrutinized more.So I needed to do a better job so that if they looked at, I had a little more respect. Now that’s a blanket statement; that not everybody. (pg.51)”

Quotes like the above and gems about Gillespie’s life make the book worthwhile.

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