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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Reminiscent of Little Women, Great Depression Holiday Tale Heartfelt and Endearing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Christmas has always been a time of joy and plenty for the Swift Family of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Not this year.  It's 1932.  With the Great Depression causing hardship and destitution all over the country, it's shaping up to be a bleak holiday for everyone.  With four siblings, 11-year-old Minnie is already wondering how her family is going to make ends meet.  Then, her parents decide to take in Willie Faye Darling, Minnie's cousin from the Texas Panhandle.  Also 11, Willie Faye arrives in Indiana covered head-to-toe in dirt, shocking evidence of what her impoverished life in the Dust Bowl is like.  Although Willa Faye has obviously lived a backwards life—she's completely unfamiliar with indoor plumbing and radio dramas!—Minnie enjoys having her lively cousin around.  Her life experiences remind Minnie of what's really important, an outlook she'll need to keep in mind more than ever with the skimpiest Christmas ever on the horizon.  Together, the girls resolve to make the holiday festive and happy for their family, no matter how little money they have or how dreary things get.  

Christmas After All by Kathryn Lasky is exactly what a holiday tale should be—it's positive, heartfelt, poignant, and uplifting.  In fact, the novel strikes a perfect balance between humor and seriousness.  Minnie's voice is pitch-perfect.  The Swift household, full of girls and giggles, is reminiscent of the March household, with all its familiar warmth and heart.  Just like in Little Women, the Swift sisters are stuffed with life and personality, exuding light despite the struggles they face.  Not only does Christmas After All show readers what living during the Great Depression was like, it also teaches valuable lessons about charity, hope, family, faith, and making the best of a bad situation.  This quick, edifying read has everything I adore in a holiday story.  I might have to make it one I revisit every December along with A Christmas Carol.  I enjoyed it that much! 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a lot of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

Grade:  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for discussion of difficult subject matter (poverty, homelessness, despair, suicide, etc.)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find 

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a wonderful story, great for MG, I am assuming.

    ReplyDelete
  2. An "A" book! I won't manage to read a book from every state this year (I never do), but am impressed that you are actively seeking them out as we near the finish line.

    ReplyDelete

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