Sunday, August 28, 2022

Three Strike Summer

Schrempp, Skylar. Three Strike Summer
August 30th 2022 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

When Gloria's family loses their farm in Balko, Oklahoma, she doesn't take it well. It's not fair that the crops failed; it's the weather's fault, and on top of that, doesn't the man from the bank know that they just lost her baby brother two months ago? Her sister Jessamyn tries to keep her from speaking her mind, but Gloria yells at the man and later throws a rock and breaks his car windshield. Luckily for the family, the man doesn't believe that Gloria, who is an excellent baseball player with a strong pitching arm, could throw that far and doesn't believe she is responsible. Soon, the family on their way to California to find work, with everything they own in their car. They end up at a peach farm, where they are forced to pay for a shack and electricity even though they would rather sleep in their car, since the man running the hiring process claims it is for sanitation purposes and obviously thinks that Okies are "dirty". Settling in, Gloria meets Quentin, who plays baseball and has organized some covert teams who practice when they should be working. He is okay with Gloria playing, but faces opposition from the other boys. The boys have a system to avoid detection, and a secret location, but run into problems with being found out. Gloria helps them, and they grudgingly let her play, especially since they have an upcoming game against a nearby apricot farm. The family struggles with having to buy food from the orchard store, which is more expensive than the one in town, but the orchard's curfew makes it impossible for them to get there are back in time after their long day of work. The father isn't happy with the working conditions, but tries to keep his head down and out of trouble, since the management has violently attacked organizers before and forced them to leave. When Gloria escapes injury when she lets a boy go ahead of her to do a job, her father decides it is time to act. What will this mean for her struggling family?
Strengths: The details of every day life during this difficult period of history are well told, in lyrical and descriptive language. Gloria's family's experiences echoed that of so many families at the time. Sadly, losing a child was much more common as well. The details of living conditions at the peach farm will shed light on how people had to live, and will appall modern readers. Including baseball gives Glori's tale even more appeal. I love the 1930s color pallette and illustration style of the cover. 
Weaknesses: Gloria's prickliness and outspoken actions seemed at odds with the way children would have acted during this time, although it is always interesting to see how more modern feeling actions would have been received. 
What I really think: Van Draanen's The Peach Rebellion has some similar themes, although set after the Depression. I have a large number of books about this era, which I find fascinating, that don't circulate well. I  may stick to Sanchez's The Wind Called My NameDaley's If the Fire Comes, Meltzer's Tough Times, Dallas' Someplace to Call Home, and the 32 other titles (oops!) I have on this fascinating period of time, including a fresher copy of Gates'  1940 phenomenal, almost primary source, Blue Willow

. Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:53 PM EDT

    My grandfather grew up working on a peach farm in the late 30s and early 40s - breathing in the peach fuzz ruined his lungs for life. I've always daydreamed about writing a story inspired by his childhood, but reading someone else's version sounds a lot easier!