Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here, https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Threads by Charlotte Whitney
4 out of 5 stars
Threads is a set on a farm in Michigan during the Depression, about a family struggling to survive. The novel is told in alternating first person points of view of the three daughters: Flora, who is seventeen, Nellie, the youngest, who is seven, and Irene, somewhere in the middle. Nellie is a tad wild, with a vivid imagination; Irene is a rather smug goody-goody on the surface, but is clearly suffering from ‘middle-child syndrome’, while Flora is very much the ‘big sister’, nearly an adult, who sees how the world works outside the concerns of the other two. Each sister’s character is clearly defined, with her own distinctive voice.
The novel is primarily concerned simply with the way of life of that place and time; it is character rather than plot-driven, an illustration of the family’s world and their fears, joys and struggles. These people were POOR. If you’ve never dined on potatoes every night, or looked on a bean sandwich as a treat, you should never think of yourself as hard-up again! Within the girls’ narratives, Ms Whitney has shown us a larger picture of the country in the 1930s; they tell of the ‘train riders’; unemployed, itinerant young men who travelled the country by stowing away on trains, begging for food wherever they stopped. The way the community pitched in to help each other. The fears that consumed them all; if they couldn’t sell enough produce, they would lose their homes.
I found Flora’s chapters the most interesting as she was concerned not only her own insular world (what happened at school, etc) but talked about the way of life as a whole. On occasion, though, Irene and Nellie would reveal much within their own childlike eye-view; this was done most skillfully.
If I have any criticisms, it’s just that I would have liked a bit more actual plot; events coming to a climax and then being resolved, at some point. There is a little mystery concerning an event from the first chapter about which we don’t get the answer until the end, but I felt there were missed opportunities to make the story more of a page-turner. However, I did enjoy it, throughout, and would most certainly recommend it as an insightful and highly readable look at this recent and still relevant time in America’s history.
It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes of the Great Depression. But, when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny blue-black hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.