Anyway, here I am babbling away without really saying anything at all about the book. Yeah, that is my modus operandi, isn't it? So, the book. I absolutely loved it! I thought it was just a perfect little gem of a book. Told from the perspective of Billie Jo, a young teenager living in Oklahoma in the 1930s. It's written in free verse...which, had I known beforehand, might have scared me away. Glad I didn't know, because it turns out that I really loved its style. No one living through the Dust Bowl had an easy time of it, and Billie Jo's family was certainly no exception. And added to the extreme hardships of this life, Billie Jo experiences a much more personal tragedy. All of this could have led to a very depressing book, but honestly, it didn't. Sure, there was a great deal of sadness. I read much of this book in the waiting room at the kids' dentist's office, and as hard as I tried to fight back the tears, a couple of times I found a stray one sliding down my cheek. But it's one of those books that is very much about hope, about clinging to those things that bring you happiness, about perseverence, and about accepting change.
Here's a taste:
Foul as Maggoty Stew
Arley Wanderdale said
the rehearsals for Sunny of Sunnyside
shouldn't take me out of school
more than twice next week.
When I told Ma she got angry about
My missing school to play piano for some show.
Me and Daddy,
we're trying our best to please Ma,
for fear of what it might do to the baby if we don't.
I don't know why she's
so against my playing.
She says that school is important,
but I do all right in school.
I know she doesn't like the kind
of music I play,
but sometimes I think she's
just plain jealous
when I'm at the piano
and she's not.
And maybe she's a little afraid
of me going somewhere with the music
she can't follow.
Or of the music taking me
so far away one day
I'll never come home.
Whatever the reason, she said I couldn't do it.
Arley had to get somebody to take my place.
I do as she says. I go to school,
and in the afternoons I come home,
run through my chores,
do my reading and my math work at the
and all the while I glare at Ma's back with a scowl
foul as maggoty stew.
January 6th "Good Stuff"
*This bumper sticker I saw on someone's car today: "Loving Kindness is my religion."
*Having a very productive morning at the library while Annie did her volunteering.
*Starting Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation...sooooo good! And graphic novels period. And the Graphic Novels Reading Challenge. And two of my bestest friends in the whole wide world who are co-hosting the challenge.