The dark times of our country’s history aren’t always the easiest to read, but I don’t think that means we don’t learn, read or remember what many folks went through decades ago. This piece of history of Oklahoma in the 1930s, specifically the Dust Bowl is one such time.
Where you come from isn’t who you are
Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.
Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.
Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.
I’ll confess, most of this novel had me sad. What a harsh time to live in, not only because of the natural harsh times, but the reality of what people can do when in times of desperation. But Susie Finkbeiner does an excellent job of bringing the history to life and showing there is still hope and goodness is dark times. I have a much greater understanding of that time period.
I also enjoyed the storyline and hearing it from young Pearl’s voice. The story being told from a young girl’s perspective added another layer I appreciated. There were some parts where the pacing was a bit slow, but overall I enjoyed the story and conclusion.
Do you know much about the Dust Bowl?