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A Time of Troubles Hardcover – October 1, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath , this period novel conveys the hopes and disillusionments of impoverished families migrating to California during the Depression. Through the experiences of 14-year-old Roy Purdy and his ex-convict father, the story explores how values are tested when survival becomes a struggle. After serving time for arson, Mr. Purdy convinces his son that they should leave their Chesapeake Bay community and begin a new life in L.A., where work is more plentiful. The two travel west by bus; once their money runs out, they are forced to rely on the generosity of strangers for shelter, food and transportation. When Mr. Purdy takes a job that involves the exploitation of pickers, Roy breaks ties with his father and helps the underpaid workers fight for their rights. As in his last novel, Pickle and Price , van Raven presents a historically accurate slice of Americana as he traces a boy's cross-country journey. His starkly realistic characters and images will leave a lasting impression. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8-10-- The time is the Great Depression. Early in the novel, Roy Purdy's father is released from a Maryland prison after a sentence for arson. Roy soon learns, however, that his father hasn't stopped his arsonist ways or his hard drinking. Yet, Roy has no choice but to follow him on a long, hard trip to California in search of work. Along the way, they meet many generous people, all ready to pull together in difficult times. Roy's father takes advantage of most of these people, and Roy starts to question whether the man will ever change. Finally, father and son end up on the opposite sides of a farm laborers' strike, and the book ends with the probable ruination of Roy's father and with Roy grasping a few strands of hope. The novel is appropriately grim, and van Raven's descriptions of such things as the labor of orange picking or the emptiness of the dusty and forlorn great plains are on target. The plot runs at a rather slow pace, however, and ends abruptly. But on the whole, this book does a fairly good job of capturing the hopelessness of the times. --Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum; 1st ed edition (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684192128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684192123
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,290,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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