Finished: Jan.3 , 2011
First Published: 1999
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Genre: children's, historical fiction, great depression, 1930s
I never used to pay much attention to the dark.
Acquired: Bookmooched a copy.
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to ds as part of our history curriculum.
This is a fictional story but the author's note at the end lets us know that it is based on a true story of her grandfather who wrote to First Lady Roosevelt and received help from her. The story takes place in Pennsylvania, 1933, just in the beginning grips of the Depression. Margo's family is feeling the affects of rationing and slower business, but Margo feels secure even though she's seen one family on her street evicted from their house and her best friend, Rosa, across the street has recently had a Sheriff's Notice put on her house. They don't talk about it though. One day at school they are given an assignment to write a letter to someone who is inspiring and Margot hasn't a clue who to write to, while Rosa knows right off that she's writing to Amelia Earhart. That day as they walk home after school, Rosa quickly says goodbye as she was the first to notice that upon Margo's door had been plastered the dreaded Sheriff's Notice. Will they lose their house and everything they own?
This is a short little book that packs a big wallop within its pages. The story is told through the eyes of Margo and from her point of view we learn a lot about life during the Great Depression for a regular merchant family. Papa is getting by because he is accepting forms of payment other than money, but the bank doesn't accept this type of business when it comes to house payments and things look bleak. Margo becomes determined to find a way to save the house and her admiration for Eleanor Everywhere, the First Lady, puts an idea into her head. Thus we also learn quite a lot about Eleanor Roosevelt throughout the course of the book as well. The story is emotionally tense at times; it gripped my son too mightily at anxious moments (though he is a sensitive lad). Margo has a little brother who was underdeveloped as a character but otherwise it is a wonderful family story to see the parents confiding in Margo, the mutual respect, and Margo's honour towards her parents.