Out Of The Dust
"This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the heat, dust and wind of Oklahoma along with the discontent of narrator Billy Jo, a talented
pianist growing up during the Depression. Unlike her father, who refuses to abandon his failing farm ("He and the land have a hold on each other"), Billy
Jo is eager to "walk my way West/ and make myself to home in that distant place/ of green vines and promise." She wants to become a professional musician
and travel across the country. But those dreams end with a tragic fire that takes her mother's life and reduces her own hands to useless, "swollen lumps."
Hesse's (The Music of Dolphins) spare prose adroitly traces Billy Jo's journey in and out of darkness. Hesse organizes the book like entries in a diary,
chronologically by season. With each meticulously arranged entry she paints a vivid picture of Billy Jo's emotions, ranging from desolation ("I look at
Joe and know our future is drying up/ and blowing away with the dust") to longing ("I have a hunger,/ for more than food./ I have a hunger/ bigger than
Joyce City") to hope (the farmers, surveying their fields,/ nod their heads as/ the frail stalks revive,/ everyone, everything, grateful for this moment,/
free of the/ weight of dust"). Readers may find their own feelings swaying in beat with the heroine's shifting moods as she approaches her coming-of-age
and a state of self-acceptance." Ages 11-13 and older readers. (Oct. Publisher's Weekly) Hesse remains faithful to the history she portrays, and this is a fine book for a book report. This file should make an excellent embossed braille copy.
- Book Quality:
- Book Size:
- 281 Pages
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- Copyrighted By:
- Karen Hesse
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