This is the second book narrated by Pearl Spence, who is ten years old when this story begins in Oklahoma. There is still plenty of dust and dust storms come up quickly, causing great harm to the Spence family. Needing to escape the dust for health reasons, the family, including Pearl's friend Ray, travels to Michigan to live near Tom's cousin Gus and his wife Carrie. Pearl struggles a bit with the move, missing those left behind, and with the changes in her mama. Mary is battling her own great sadness and discontent. It is interesting to read of the family tragedies from the perspective of a child. She has great support from Gus and Carrie, plus her father, and Ray. This is a series that is best read in its entirety. I felt that this book, especially, had an ending that certainly needed more completion, which should be accomplished in the final book of the series. It is not a happy book but one well worth reading.
This tough tale picks up where A Cup of Dust left off. Pearl Spence and her family continue to face difficult times from the Dust Bowl and the Depression. Your heart can't help but go out to her as you journey through the pain and the poignant scenes. This youthful narrator, who turns 12 during the story, reminds me of how Scout told an adult story from her childhood perspective. Readers not only glimpse deep into the main characters' souls, they learn about the time and setting as well as glean insights into human relationships and choices. I would like for the novel to have a happier drama, yet the powerful story is one that grips you and won't let you forget. I also like the way the author works in the word crumbs just often enough to remind you of the title.
I have great respect for an author who can help me enjoy something I used to tolerate, ok, avoid. I don't -- didn't -- used to gravitate toward historical fiction (or history for that matter), but this book unlocked a new appreciation for both. I forgot I was reading historical fiction and just got lost in the story. WELL done.
With each novel by Susie Finkbeiner, I fall more in love with her writing and her characters. I was glad to return to Pearl's story after reading A Cup of Dust. I feel as if I know her family and her home. As awful as the setting of the Great Depression is, I still want to visit; meeting these characters would make it worth the trial. Susie's books are never easy-to-read, full-of-warm-fuzzies types of books. She explores the nitty gritty of life and people. You're crying, you're angry, you're hurting. Then you're loving and cheering Pearl on. You have hope for her future. And I can't wait to find out what it holds.
Pearl Spence is a survivor; for she has survived more tragedy than most ten year old girls could even imagine, much less endure; and trying to see "how all things work together for the good of those who love God", according to her beloved Meemaw; is getting harder and harder for Pearl to believe. When the unthinkable occurs, she and her family are forced to relocate, leaving the dust blown town of Red River, Oklahoma far behind, while they struggle to embrace the friendly community of Bliss, Michigan as their new home.
The love of her family has always provided Pearl's tender heart with a measure of certainty; naturally, when grief exposes a deep fissure in that stability, Pearl is left wondering whether or not a "trail of crumbs" is enough to lead anyone back home.
Susie Finkbeiner has beautifully heightened her readers' expectations, for this second installment in her "Pearl Spence" series is just as lovely as the first, giving a poignant glimpse into the era now known as the "Great Depression".