Tuesday, August 31, 2010
CROSSING THE TRACKS by Barbara Stuber
At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts – no home, no family, no plan. After her mother’s early death, Iris’s father focuses on big plans for his new shoe stores and his latest girlfriend, and has no time for his daughter. Unbeknownst to her, he hires Iris out as housekeeper and companion for a country doctor’s elderly mother. Suddenly Iris is alone, stuck in gritty rural Missouri, too far from her only friend Leroy and too close to a tenant farmer Cecil Deets, who menaces the neighbors, and Iris suspects, his own daughter.
Iris is buoyed by the warmth and understanding the doctor and his mother show her, but just as she starts to break out of her shell tragedy strikes. Iris must find the guts and cunning to take aim at the devil incarnate and discover if she is really as helpless - or hopeless – or homeless - as she once believed.
I won this book in a contest. The author signed it and left me a gracious note. I opened the book and was immediately drawn into the story of Iris.
All the characters in this book are well drawn, from the ones I liked to the ones I was uncomfortable reading. I not only came to care for Iris, but also the two people she lived with and the dog!
The writing was beautiful, too.
This story has tender, funny and heartwarming themes. Home and family come through very strongly as do love and loyalty.
No story or character would grow stronger without some grief, loss or pain. And Iris gets to deal with all of it in one summer.
Plus! There is a love interest which is handled well.
My copy is dog eared because of the quotes then I found I was marking tons of pages and had to stop.
There were two lose ends for me: Didn't really find out who Dr. Nesbitt's lady friend is though I have my suspicious; I would have liked someone to point out to Iris one good thing her dad did (like sending her away because she ended up with a good family). Maybe it was in the book and I just missed it.
L: A few swear words
V: Yes in the form of a leering neighbor and angry daughter
Instead of a page 69 test on this book, I want to give you some great quotes:
"I count her shoes-black pumps, black boots, tan and white, brown with high heels and elastic sides, gray, and ivory with buttons. All six pairs are here-one for every year since I was born." Page x1. (Isn't that a great way to tell age?)
"As we crest a hill I feel the earth release us, then hug us tight going down. Emerald corn fields rustle under the scalloped telephone wires. I hear rivers of clover hum the same soft pink note. Everything is moving, talking, touching above and rooted below. I slow to let a garden snake show off his swivel dance across the dusty road." Page 85
"The sunflowes watch us turn around. Sun aprks off the weather-polished gate like a lighning strike. A choir of locusts tunes up.
We're alltogether too. Heading back north.
Homeward bound." Page 183