From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8 Olsen's story centers on Marie Carlsen, 13 years old. It is the Depressiontight-lipped times. Marie's father is dead, and her mother keeps their Iowa farm going. Her adored older sister has left home to marry a man who follows job after job around the country. Marie idolizes her sister and holds on to her as her one friend, but Rosie doesn't write much. Marie's longing for her sister runs through the book and ties all the episodes together. Essentially, Olsen tells what happens to Marie from Christmas, 1933, to Fall, 1935. The events are told in the same even style of recollections, whether she writes of a box supper or the suicide of a neighbor farmer/bootlegger. The good and the bad are given equal weight, equal importance. It is a rich book, telling of the experiences of one Danish-American family, even though it is not remarkable for the skill of the writer. Olsen's language is plain and no-nonsense. So when the style intrudes in the shape of Crafted Phrases, it only serves to distract readers from the story. What Olsen has is a good story, an honest and sympathetic one, and that is no small strength. Christina Olson, Beverly Hills Public Library
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