This was a tiny, tiny book for this age of kids to read. Only 146 pages, so no wonder I finished it in the same day as when I started. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really interesting story, but I just wonder if the kids in grades 7-9 that the Truman list is for will respond well to such a young story. The main character is Audrey, and she is actually the real older sister of the author. So it is a semi-autobiographical account of the author’s life as a child in coal mine town. Audrey is 11 years old, and it is May, the end of the school year. Their father works in the coal mine, and in the past was also in the army until they sent him home saying he had 4 kids that needed him to be home. It actually sounds like the family was kind of better off, financially mostly, when he was in the army. Her father drank a lot, her mother was left home with the kids mostly. There were 3 other girls besides Audrey, that she called the “little Piggies”. And there had been another baby that had died before it was a year old from spinal meningitis.
The fact that it is a true story will probably intrigue some readers, but it is told from a younger age than the kids who read this award nominee list, and often that can put this age off from reading something.
I also have to say that I read a book by the same author, Ruth White, for the Mark Twain list last year. It was called Way Down Deep, and it actually was one of my least favorites, yet made it to the list anyway. I liked this book better, but we’ll see what happens.
The next book I’ll start is called Jack: Secret Histories, and is by F. Paul Wilson, an author I’ve actually considered reading his adult novels in the past, but have yet to do. So we’ll see how this one goes.