Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: Little Audrey

I thoroughly enjoyed Ruth White's middle-grade novel, Belle Prater's Boy, and the follow-up book, The Search for Belle Prater. I think I was just browsing when I happened upon this one, Little Audrey, a more historical memoir-type book. It was a quick, easy read.

In Little Audrey, Ruth White tells the story of a traumatic year in her life, through the eyes of her older sister, Audrey. The year is 1948 and eleven-year-old Audrey lives with her parents and three younger sisters, whom she calls "the three little pigs," in a coal-mining camp in Virginia. Audrey is recovering from scarlet fever, her mother is mourning the loss of her infant daughter, and her father is coping with life by turning to drink. I'm supposing the telling of the story through the narration of an older sister, allowed Ruth White some distance to the tale. I'm also wondering if the older sister expressed feelings of guilt over a comment she made just prior to the devastating loss her family experienced.

The story is told with child-like wonder and emotion. The author easily conveys how it felt to be a young child in a coal-mining community. Moreover, every reader will be able to relate to the hopes and dreams of something better, while coping with the less-than-best.  It is always interesting to me to discover more about the personal background of an author and how that influences their writing. I can certainly understand where the themes of yearning for a parent grew from in White's writings.

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