I was 7 or 8 years old and living in Montana during the time frame of this book. Even today I still remember the hay ricks and horse drawn forks in certain parts of the Gallatin Valley as we built our house out on Sourdough Road. Although this is fiction, it is so true to the era and the wide eyed blissful naivete with which we pursued life. The ability to ride the bus to another town, or even to meet a relative coming in on the train was an adventure. The hobos and bums who lived down near the dump and rode the trains were regarded as a fact of life but not persons to be feared, by our parents who themselves had been forced during the depression to fend for themselves on the road.
I am always amazed at Ivan Doig’s ability to tell a tale through the eyes of an adolescent in such a manner that we feel the anxieties, the amazement, the fears and the embarrassment of youth once more. This is a story well worth reading and as one who still has my grandmother’s signature book with many interesting ditties from friends and acquaintances, I at times long for the slower more thoughtful and more interconnected lives we led during those times. Enjoy!
Categories: book reviews