Women’s Perspective on Reading “The Dutchman”
Aug 11, 2021
I am pleasantly surprised by the responses I’ve received from women readers of “The Dutchman.” I anticipated women would be drawn to the evolving love story of Norm and Gloria and attracted to the historical context of everyday challenges that post-WWII brought, but I am intrigued they enjoyed the football scenes. And as I type this, I, a lifelong football fan, realize how sexist my attitude is…
Reader Wendylee Raun wrote, “I appreciated the depth of human interest, the family background, and the development of their relationship. And, as a football fan from early days, the football sequences were impressive!
Jane Strell shared, “Transported to a time depicted with such care, I could feel the denim and smell the cigarettes. Not one to sit down and watch a game, I was surprised at my fascination with the football sequences: the fierce competition to make the team, the grueling hours of practice, the importance of being kept in a position, and the interpersonal relationship of the players and coaches. I was intrigued by football for the first time.
The book is a story about relationships—between individuals, between peers, between authority figures like coaches and teachers, between institutions like college and the military—and learning to navigate them while retaining a sense of self-hood. The story illustrates the conflict between the quintessential American sanctity of the individual and societal needs, and how this is ongoing.
Reader Betsy Meeker Morris noted, “Gloria’s strong personality was a testament to women’s strength and problem-solving when life was hard. The illustrated stories of both Gloria and Norm’s families had excellent flow which made it a delight to read. The love of football, family, education, and simplicity takes me back to a time when smelling the roses and noticing simple joy made every day bright.
Margret Guenter remarked, “What a wonderful reminder that people are multi-faceted, and no one gets to their personal zenith alone. Norm Van Brocklin fell in love with his wife, Gloria, early in his college career and never looked back. This personal perspective of their courtship and early marriage provides a touching side of a beloved athlete and his brilliant, courageous wife.
Francesca Mokry commented, “In Vanderyt’s vivid writing, I could perfectly imagine every scene, especially when Norm and Gloria moved into their first place right after their wedding. I really enjoyed learning about courtship post-WWII. This book gave new insight into the romance and yearning of dating without constant, even instant, communication.”
The Dutchman is not just a love story, it’s a story of life. That’s part of the appeal, and why we are drawn to them and the hope that love suggests. Love stories are stories about growth, and the potential for something new, better, stronger…both individually and societally. None of us is an island; we are all stronger when we rise together.
Reader Joan Walters shared, “This beautiful love story describes Gloria and Norm’s struggles to balance careers and marriage, and this is germane to couples today as sacrifice, loss, and success are universal themes that face all of us, regardless of the times.”