rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first started reading this book, I had some trouble getting into it. The young narrator used language suited to her age, and I took a few pages to adjust. However, the book soon swept me up in the crazy journey of the Walls family.
I didn't have an issue with the believability of the story, although some of the events that happened to the children over the course of the novel were almost beyond belief. I felt close to the struggles of Jeannette and her siblings. I wanted to see them succeed at the end of the book, to triumph over the the hardships of poverty brought on by an alcoholic, idealistic father and an enabling, self-absorbed mother. The middle section was a bit slow, with grim event after grim event piled on, almost more than I could take. But by the last section the book absorbed me completely until I couldn't put it down.
It's funny, I felt the tiniest hint of longing as I read this book. I know that it must have been a terrible experience for Jeannette, and it's amazing that all the children even survived their childhood, but at the same time most of them came out of it with an amazing determination and drive. Many children in our modern times don't receive the chance to play outside and learn about the dangers of the world first hand, and quite a few end up just kind of floating around because of it.
This is definitely a good, unique read. Check it out if you get a chance!
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