This was an amazing book. One of the things I love best about the genre, historical fiction, is that while I'm immersed in escapism, I am also on a learning journey. I have only heard of the dust bowl, I knew nothing about it. It's odd, really. It was a pretty major event in our country's history, and yet no one talks about it. I certainly don't remember hearing about it in school.
This book chronicles one woman's journey through her adult life, focusing on living through the dust bowl and the Great Depression. I was shocked to learn of this whole new group of people that were ridiculed, discriminated against and just overall treated so poorly. It never ceases to amaze me. But this group seemed different to me than all the other groups we've managed to marginalize throughout our country's history, for this group was not discriminated against for their skin color, national origin, or religion. They were discriminated against because of a catastrophic situation they endured because of where they lived - right here in this country. I suppose there have been other instances of this - with displacement due to hurricanes etc. But the scale on which this occurred was mind-blowing.
If I had to boil down the themes of this book, I would say grit and greed. I say grit because the families that moved West had to have grit to survive. Like always, I find myself wrapped up in the characters personally, wondering what I would have done. I'm not sure I could have survived as long as they did under the horrendous conditions. And I say greed because that's where the discrimination stemmed from - both the greed of the people who were worried about all the migrants moving in to their territory and the greed of the big "corporate" farmers - who cared about nothing except profits. Not so different than today, I suppose. But reading about this piece of our nation's history for the first time was incredible. The book is really well written and I would highly recommend it!
Reviewed by Susan Buckmaster