Friday, December 16, 2011

All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky

Lansdale, Joe R. All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky.

You think the present economy is making your life tough? Jack's mother has died of dirty pneumonia, and his father hung himself hours after his death. Jack has to bury them both after an enormous dust storm. About this time, Jane and Tony come to his farm; their mother ran off with a Bible salesman, and their father has been killed by his tractor overturning on him. Jane has a plan to drive away from their doomed Oklahoma community by taking Old Man Turpin's car, since he died in the storm sitting on his front porch. Once the trio take off, they run into one trouble after another-- they get caught up with some thieves, get shanghaied into picking peas, have to ride the rails, and generally live from one meal to the next until they accept some help from kind people.
Strengths: Reminiscent of Hunt's No Promises in the Wind, it is a good reminder of how absolutely dire the Great Depression was. When people complain today's situation to that time, I want to slap them. I don't think that things have gotten bad enough now that parents are sending their children away from home because they have no food for them. This was an excellent depiction of this point in history, packed with action and adventure. Definitely buying for my students who want more books on this era after reading A Long Way From Chicago.
Weaknesses: I wished this had a period photo on the cover. Good try, but the boy's jeans and shirt look brand new.

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