Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Milton Meltzer's Tough Times

This is a thin historical novel, but it should not be underestimated. It is the rawest and most personal account of living through the depression that I have ever read. When I was done, I thought "This is autobiographical!", and sure enough, Meltzer was born in 1915, making him `6 when this book was set. We should all write so well at 92!

The details of this book were breath taking. What was it like to have your father's business slowly become less and less viable, until you had to get a job instead of going to school? How hard was it to see a professional man you admire lose his job, and your friend also sink into hard times? When everything around you seemed so dire, how did you go on?

All of my students need to read this. Maybe they would complain less. At the very least, they would learn a lot abou the Great Depression, something which figured very largely in the lives of my grandparents, and which young people today know so little about.

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