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Search tags: depression-era
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review 2016-12-12 14:24
Water for Elephants
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

by Sarah Gruen

 

This was an amazing story.

 

I love realistic stories about the circus or carnivals and I learned from the author's note at the end that this was very well researched in a historian sense. It rang mostly true and some of the incidents were taken from events that really happened somewhere in circus history.

 

My only niggle is that it was written in present tense. I'm not going to dock it a star for that as I usually do because it was done well and sometimes I could forget to notice, but it still would have been better in past tense.

 

The depiction of the rough edges of depression era train circus life was very immersive and I actually read most of the book into the night in one sitting because I didn't want to stop. That's a sign of a well written story!

 

Without giving anything away, I particularly liked the way it finished. I mean the story itself, before getting to the notes. The decision made by Jacob, the main protagonist, left me with a smile on my face. Characters were strong throughout the story, human or otherwise.

 

There were definitely some animal antics that made me laugh, especially the elephant. There were other emotions too, some not so pleasant, especially with the knowledge that animals weren't cared for as they should have been in those days, but it's far in the past now and i could enjoy the story as a nostalgic record of a time that happened long before I was born.

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review 2016-01-29 19:57
The Lost Mother
The Lost Mother - Mary McGarry Morris

This is the heartbreaking account told by 13 year old Thomas during the Depression era.  He lives in Vermont in a tent in the woods with his dad and his younger sister Margaret after his mother leaves to "seek a better job elsewhere." 

 

A perfect example of how children interpret the mysteries of adults.  With what little information his dad has told him as to why his mother left his innocence paints a different story than the truth and he is determined to find his mother, either to bring her home or to go live with her.  Life for Thomas and his sister have not been easy while in their father's care who seems to be on a streak of bad luck.  When they are informed their dad had to leave for temporary out-of-town job they are passed from house to house.  At first they are happy at each place once they are warm and fed but each household reveals their skeleton and ultimately making it impossible for the children to stay.

 

Mary McGarry Morris does a superb job in depicting Thomas's emotional, frustrating and painful experience as he finds his way to the truth.  Definitely my favorite to date that I've read by this author.  I would recommend this book for those who appreciate thoughtful reading.

 

How I acquired this book:  Barnes & Noble clearance shelf

Shelf Life:  Approximately 3 years.

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review 2015-01-25 01:18
WORLD'S FAIR by E. L. DOCTOROW
World's Fair - E.L. Doctorow
  The 1930's through a child's eyes. I liked Edgar's stories. He lets us know what he sees and feels. He even admits to not understanding it all. HIs parents are typical parents--fighting with each other, at times happy, at times worried, at times angry. I loved his description of the World's Fair. This is a tender story.

 

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