Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas After All

Finished Christmas After All, from the Dear America series. Written by Kathryn Lasky, it's the diary of Minnie Swift, an eleven year old girl living in Indianapolis during The Great Depression. Minnie's family has been economizing, shutting off parts of the house so as not to heat them and serving mingy fare, disgusting aspics and something Minnie has nicknamed "Rumor of Pork."

Minnie's family has an unexpected addition, when Willie Faye, an orphaned distant cousin, arrives from Texas to live with them. Willie Faye is very small for her age (clearly undernourished). Little clouds of dust escape from her clothes and shoes as she walks. She has come from The Dustbowl. She has never seen a ceramic bathtub and has no idea what an adjective is, but she can tell wonderful stories of her life in Texas.

One evening after seeing a film at the cinema, Minnie and company return to the house to find that their father has left. The truth that his company has shut down comes out and what was promising to be a lean Christmas now looks like something far more bleak. Everyone worries except Willie Faye. She thinks that Mr. Swift has a plan and indeed he does.

This was a charming book with excellent period details. I especially enjoyed the diary format and look forward to reading more of the Dear America series.

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