“We ain’t strangers, are we? You and me’s thick as thieves. Pearl and Eddie. Eddie and Pearl. Gonna take over the world, you and me,” the young girl is told in Susie Finkbeiner’s novel, A Cup of Dust.
~ What ~
This three-hundred-and twenty-page paperback targets those who like suspenseful fiction set in the Dust Bowl of America during the 1930s. With slang words, hell, and a couple of racial slurs from the era, topics of abuse, murder, and death would not be appropriate for young readers.
In this story written in first person, ten-year-old Pearl Spence knows no other life living in the dusty plains of Red River, Oklahoma, with her sheriff father, stay-at-home-mom, Bible-believing grandmom, and mentally-challenged older sister.
When a hobo jumps from a train, she is piqued he immediately recognizes her, calling her by name. Pearl would rather live in a make-believe world of playing an Indian princess than be stalked by the vagrant who frightens her. When she learns the truth about the past, she is more confused on God’s protection and her position in life.
~ Why ~
More of a mystery novel than a historical one of the Dust Bowl days, the book conveys how love conquers all fears when dealing with the truth. I enjoyed the roles of the girl’s grandmother and mother in how children were brought up eighty years ago.
~ Why Not ~
In my opinion, the book has a slow start and does not go deep into the dirt and grime of the pathetic way of living in the Midwest during the relentless dust storms. With only a few storms mentioned, they were the backdrop not the focal point of the story. Some may be offended by the slang and ethnic slurs, but it is apropos and not over-exaggerated.
~ Who ~
Having written two other novels, Finkbeiner is a fiction editor, magazine article writer, conference leader, and avid blogger who is a stay-at-home mom in Michigan.
~ Wish ~
With the book’s locale being Oklahoma during the well-known dust storms, I wish there was more content of the dealings and damage done. Being a mystery that was predictable half-way through, it would be more engaging if the storms impacted the storyline more vividly.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for tale told from a ten-year-old girl’s perspective of how she views life during the Dust Bowl years and learns about herself, this one will keep your attention if you get past the first fifty pages.
Thanks to Kregel Publications for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.
This review will be posted on the Kregel Publications, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.
Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.