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4.16.2012


At Season's End by Eric Hendershot, YA Historical Fiction, The Depression EraAT SEASON'S END
By Eric Hendershot

Sally and Tim travel the country with Paw and Maw taking what jobs they can so they can continue their travels. After losing the family farm in Florida because of the Great Depression two years ago they became migrant workers.  Paw is a master at telling tales so that they can get what they need and survive.

When Paw jumps in the rushing Columbia River to save a drowning boy, the powerful river almost over-powers Paw.  Fortunately the current brings him close enough for Maw, Tim and Sally to pull Paw and Ben Musgrove out of the river.  When Ben tells them that he and his folks are picking cherries nearby Paw heads to the settlement and gets the whole family hired as cherry pickers for the season.  

Sally develops feelings for Ben and they confuse her. Ben's actions make Sally think he may have feelings for her too, though he doesn't say anything.  On the day the families are leaving Sally says goodbye to Ben and shocks them both by kissing Ben and telling him that she loves him!

But after they leave Hood River, Oregon car trouble strikes and less than halfway through their journey they are down to thirty cents!  Then Tim finds a penny.  So they go into Big Mama's to get food.  Many of the people in the diner look down on them because of what they are - migrant workers.  But when Paw orders 2 cups of coffee and 2 slices of toast because they only order what they can afford.  Then Paw defends their work and all it supplies the "respectable" people who are critical of them.  Big Mama then gives them each a chicken dinner and a big lunch to take with them.  But as a result of this Maw decides that they need to become respectable people and settle down.  

So for they head to Palo, Iowa where Paw gets a job on a farm, but after a year of being respectable Maw and Paw they've had enough respectability.  Packing up their car they head towards Hood River and cherry picking.  Within two days they see all their friends.  Two years have not changed Sally's feelings for Ben, but she is unsure of his.  As the days pass her agitation of not knowing grows.  When Ben finally confesses his feelings for her they develop a closer relationship.  On the last night of cherry picking season, the two families get together to plan for Sally and Ben's wedding next July during cherry season.

Sally is beside herself with happiness, but soon tragedy strikes.  Maw gets ill and the doctor says her heart is bad and any excitement could end her life in an instant.  So for Maw's health, Paw finds a job that Tim can work, so they have a home for Maw.  But one night as Paw takes care of the cattle he is injured.  Within hours Maw and Paw both die.  

Tim and Sally are determined to find the Musgroves or the Sawyers, but they have to do some quick thinking so that can stay together long enough to make their escape.  But how do you find someone when they could be anywhere in the country?  So as not to be though of as runaways Tim and Sally have to disguise themselves and pretend to be someone else.  But along the way they face dangers and impossible situations. Can they make it to one of their friends in time or are they at their season's end?

A touching story of love and family.  It is also an intriguing look at a way of American life about which too few know anything about.  This is a must read title!

I received a digital loan of this title for the purpose of this review.  A positive review was not a requirement.  


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Interview with the author Eric Hendershot to be posted soon