29. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Historical Fiction

Whistle in the Dark by Susan Hill Long, 181 pages, read by Angie, on 10/28/2013

Whistle in the Dark is the story of Clem, a 13-year-old boy in the Ozarks of Missouri, he is a good student and likes to read and write. Unfortunately, he is going to quit school and go to work in the mines. His pap and grampy were both miners and Clem is forced to follow in their footsteps. The family needs the money from another income because Grampy is sick with miners consumption and sister Esther has epilepsy and lots of hospital bills. It is 1925 and the mine is the only game in town for employment. Clem hates being underground; he wishes he could stay in school. The one shining point of his life is his dog Pal. Clem has always wanted a dog and Pal just appeared one day after his birthday. On his days off Clem and Pal explore the area and spend time with Lindy. Lindy is the daughter of a moonshiner, she has a horrible scar on her face and the other kids make fun of her. Clem and Lindy develop a deep friendship that just grows with time.

Whistle in the Dark is a pretty decent historical fiction book for kids. It describes a life many kids today have no knowledge of. It is unheard of that you would leave school and start working at 13 today. I really enjoyed his friendship with Lindy and how that had the potential to develop into something more. I think it was Esther who really made the story. As sick as she was, she was always positive and brought light into Clem’s dark life. There is definitely a happy-ever-after quality to the end of this book. Things work out wonderfully for everyone; maybe a little unbelievable but works for kids books.

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