Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Review: Crossing the Tracks
2010; McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster); ISBN 978-1-4169-9703-0 (hardcover)
Historical Period/Events: 1920s America
Summary: When her mother dies when she is six, Iris is left with her emotionally distant father. Now sixteen, Iris wonders if she'll ever find someplace that she belongs. Her isolation feels even more extreme when her father hires her out as a companion to the mother of a country doctor. Iris is surprised to be warmly welcomed by Dr. and Mrs. Nesbitt and treated like part of the family. She slowly gains confidence in herself, even trying to help the local mean girl. But when her father dies, Iris will have to see if she's gotten strong enough to make her own home.
The 1920s were a complex period to grow up, even if you didn't live in a big city. Social and technological advances made life a bit easier, although it doesn't make coming of age any simpler. Iris gains freedom through inventions like the telephone and the car, but she still feels unsure when it comes to her father and her future. Far from jazz and bright lights, one girl learns how to be strong and independent. Pair Crossing the Tracks with a book like Ten Cents a Dance to give an urban take on the same struggle.