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Stormy Weather

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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  914 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls—responsible Mayme, whip-smart tomboy Jeanine, and bookish Bea—know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks. But in a year of devastating drought and dust storms, the family's fortunes sink further ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published May 8th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,770)
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Map
What a lovely, lovely book. Paulette Jiles beautifully evokes Depression-era America in Dustbowl Texas, witnessed through the lives of four women—a mother and her three wonderfully compelling daughters. As she illuminates the desperation of families struggling with poverty and deprivation, she also captures the bonds of community, friendship, and family that helped them through such terrible times. If you like historical fiction on an intimate, personal scale, a novel that transcends typical "wo ...more
Mary
Mar 11, 2008 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone stuggling-great for perspective!
Recommended to Mary by: Mary H.
A sort of female Grapes of Wrath, this is a story of deep, unrelenting poverty and the daily struggle for survival during the depression and dustbowl years. After a nomadic lifestyle with a hard-drinking, heavy-gambling father; Jeannie, her mother and two sisters return to their deserted, run-down ancestoral Texas ranch after his death. Jeannie, at the age of 20, takes on the challenge of scraping a life from the hard-baked earth and unrelenting drought, as she tries to figure out what her own f ...more
Robert
Stormy Weather follows a family in Texas during the dust bowl. Paulette Jiles style is a little jarring at first, but I soon got used to it. It jumps from topic to topic mid-paragraph.

Life during that era was very difficult for a lot of people. It's hard to believe that that was only 70 years ago. Times have sure changed. We hear talk of "recession" now, and how hard life is. No way. We have it so well in America.

I couldn't decide whether the focus was supposed to be on the characters or the per
...more
Rachel Walden
This is the first book in a long time that I couldn't put down and day-dreamed about almost every moment that I wasn't able to read it. Author Paulette Jiles drops you into a different time and place with wonderful, precise detail that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will also be thinking about the Texas-style romance between main characters Jeanine and Ross for some time to come--it's so restrained yet filled with the kind of just-under-the-surface passion that plants deep roots into one's imagination. ...more
Beth
An interesting take on the Dust Bowl, the Depression, and the state of rural Southern America leading up to WWII. I like the fact the author chose to focus primarily on the middle child of a family--not a typical choice. I was pleased with how she centered much of the story around female characters and their experiences as women, especially in times when women were at the mercy of men who had trouble finding jobs and of society, which expected them to stifle their ambitions and take care of thei ...more
Dora
I really enjoyed this book. I can't remember exactly but one of the quotations on the back said something to the effect of, this book is a view of the past but it is NOT sepia-toned.

I loved this book because it felt so real. The desperation of the Great Depression and dust bowl out in rural texas felt so palpable. And it was because the desperation felt so real that I completely related to their fears and anxieties. Especially how once things got better, they were so scared to let go of what th
...more
Alisa
I read this during lunch at my desk at work, and it held my interest quite well considering the fragmented attention it received. I wasn't excited to read another horse racing novel, but it turned out it was not this at all. It was more of a portrait of life in dusty Texas during the Great Depression. I enjoyed Jeanine and her family's persistence in carving a life out of hard times. I am puzzled by those who called this book depressing. I don't think it was, instead the lucky strikes (in oil, h ...more
Brenda
Paulette Jiles is very detailed and descriptive in her tales of following the Texan oil strikes during the depression. I felt as though I was there. I found it interesting in that some things never change, and I could relate to her story of a family trying to survive by going where the money is -- oil strikes and horse racing. I was drawn into her story with great interest, but was quite disappointed with the ending. There is so much emotion and intensity throughout the book, but the author seem ...more
Joanna
Who knew there were so many ways to describe dust! Despite being set in the Dust Bowl during Great Depression the characters manage to carve their own way with hope and a triumphant spirit.
Leo Robillard
Stormy Weather is the follow-up novel to Paulette Jiles’ wildly popular and critically acclaimed first novel, Enemy Women. With it, she proves, without a doubt, that her writing has staying power.

Stormy Weather is the story of Jeanine Stoddard, her sisters, and their mother. Deserted and humiliated by their mercurial father and husband, Jack Stoddard, the women must negotiate the uncharted world of East and Central Texas during the Great Depression.

Jeanine, the middle-child, skinny and fierce,
...more
Ashley
This is an easy read that has good characters and good writing. Paulette Jiles used to be a poet, and I thought most of the imagery and and over-all story-telling was very pretty--and I loved the dialogue. It is set in Texas during the Depression and involves a family of three sisters and their mother overcoming the odds and making a life for themselves on the old family farm. It's not an original story, but it gave me a good sense of what the Depression might have been like. I liked reading abo ...more
Jennifer
I was actually caught up in the strength of the young girls who did what had to be done to get through - modern-day pioneers.
This is a story that takes place in the late 1930's. A family of three girls who lose their father to a deadly gas accident while working the oil fields of Texas. I've heard stories of the Great Depression from my parents - a time that certainly tried men's soles, and then add on the Dust Bowl to the mid-westerners on top of everything else they were having to do to surviv
...more
Sam
This book was just "okay" for me.

The fictional story takes place during the great depression. The main characters of the story is a family who moves from place to place in order to find work. The father is a drunkard who eventually dies in the book. The family then returns to Texas to the home they left earlier in the book. It talks of the hard times they endured during this period in history.

One of the reasons that the story was just "okay" is because I wasn't able to "get into" the characters.
...more
Hayden
After the death of their worthless father, Jeanine and her sisters and mother move back to their abandoned Texas family homestead and struggle to bring it back to life. It's hard work, and they have no money, but after living the nomadic life of oil fielders all their lives, they want to make something their own.

I really enjoyed this. Jiles is a poet, and it shows in her short, evocative sentences and near total lack of dialogue. It's not at all sentimental. In fact, at times, this book reads li
...more
Tiffany Schomel
Dec 21, 2007 Tiffany Schomel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
I loved this book. She is a great author. The story of a young scrappy girl struggling through the depression era with her family to get by is gripping. I love that they are able to survive and hang on to this little race horse that brings them all together in the end.
Becca
I liked this book, but I kept waiting for something...more to happen. The description of life in the TX oil fields and living during the Depression was excellent, but the characters stayed a bit distant. An enjoyable read, but not outstanding.
Jennifer
Feb 19, 2008 Jennifer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Jodi Miller
Shelves: book-club-book
This story was well intentioned but never fulfilled its promise. The book had too much unimportant info and not enough relevant story content. I would probably not read another book from this author.
Emily Theroff
I just finished this book last eve. I had no expectation when I purchased it except a primary one for me: when I find an author
Whose writing is so beautiful, I want to read everything they've written.Here I am this morning wanting another book by this author. Feeling like I am missing the characters from "Stormy Weather" already. I had read "Enemy Women" and went straight to the book store when I finished it and purchased this book.She has a beautifully lyrical style, with grit made into a thin
...more
Sherri
Jun 29, 2011 Sherri rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sherri by: sherri.reid@comcast.net
I purchased this book at The Dollar store. Even though it was a First Edition, I had originally passed it up because it had a remainder mark on it. But in returning something to the dollar store I picked it up because they don't give refunds. However, you can choose something else. So I went back to the book section and despite its remainder mark I went ahead and got it as there were no other books - nor was there anything else I was interested in at the dollar store.

I am really glad I ended up
...more
Laura
This book is lilting yet tough; it's a modern girl's Scarlett O'Hara battling the 1930s Dust Bowl for the sake of her two sisters and widowed mother. Through bad investments, dire poverty, and loneliness, this book reminds us that bad economies and personal loss can be overcome with hard work and family togetherness.

I won't say that this is the most cleverly constructed novel; it's heartfelt and poetic at times, but the metaphors (Smoky Joe the racehorse) felt a tad weak. I don't think novels li
...more
R.L.
This is story contains a rich tapestry of emotions and well-thought-out characters. The family saga of a woman who sacrifices all to keep her girls fed and clothed and with a roof over their heads during the lean years of the depression. The oil fields of Texas were not so "rich" in those days. People barely survived while they searched for oil. Most of the time they were not successful. This novel is well-written. I can't believe there are not many more reviews for it.
Shonna Froebel
This work is set in Texas in the late 1930s. The Stoddard family is following the man of the house around the state as he chases down work related to the oil fields. When he dies, leaving them with little they retreat to the family home of the mother, Elizabeth and try to make a go of it. With the mother and the three daughters going back to a farm in drought conditions, where they find they owe a great deal in back taxes and have little money and a racehorse as their only assets, they put their ...more
Martha
This book certainly brings the hard times of the great depression in to vivid life. It also tells the tale of a family moved, literallly, by a man who follows the oil, follows horse racing and gambles his earnings away. When he died, the family is forced back to their family home in the midst of the depression and find a home that's been unoccupied and is run down and barely safe to live in. Jeanine spends her time initially with her father, following the gambling and the horses, driving home wh ...more
Melissa Y.
So far halfway through and the book is really picking up. The scene I like best so far and found beautifully written is early in the book, where Jeanine (Ithink she's around ten at this point) needs the help of a blind man to load her father in the car after an night of gambling and drinking. She's never driven before, but he tells her how and she starts driving her father home. The scene is believable and full of heart.
I'm a little more than halfway through the book, and just read the part wher
...more
Marge
Omigosh, I loved this book! This tale of a widowed mother and three daughters struggling to survive the dustbowl and depression of the 1930s in Texas feels so authentic. Although I was of a generation later than these protagonists, what I know of that time growing up in Texas allows me to identify strongly with this family. I hope we see many more from Paulette Jiles.
Carol
This book is from friend Jennifer. Thanks Jennifer for the loan! I enjoy historical fiction. This is about what was nicknamed the dirty thirties. Not only was the depression in full swing but Texas and the panhandle were in the drought years with the consequent "dust bowl." Although the family in this book in ficitonal, they are set in the middle of these real life events. Most everyone is this area was poor and most everyone was paid in kind and was making do with what they had. Jeanine, the ma ...more
Teresa Segura
I thought this book was beautifully written, but I found myself wondering why I didn't feel closer to the characters. It seems like the author didn't let me in their heads enough to really connect with them. I loved the history of the oil rigs, dust storms and the drought, but I wanted to love the characters and miss them when the book ended!
Alina
This book was so hard to get in to! I was about 80 percent through the book when I was finally started getting interested. I wanted to stop reading it several times but one of my little boys gave it to me as a Christmas present so I felt like I had to finish it. I should add that he bought it at the dollar store. So the lesson I learned is that books at the dollar store are there for a reason. The last 20 percent of the book was very intriguing and the plot progressed. I will say that even thoug ...more
Pat Gent
I think it's always good to read about your roots. My parents and grandparents lived through the dust bowl days of Oklahoma, so the towns and the places here felt familiar - central Texas is just next door, and the poverty and misery of the dust bowl farm families was a shared event, regardless of which side of the Red River you lived on.

I enjoy the story, felt a kinship with the characters, and felt the book was a solid read. It didn't sweep me up into the narrative, and it was a little hard t
...more
Judith
There are several books with the same title and I am not sure I read the one I intended to read, but I enjoyed it all the same. This is "My Antonia" meets "The Grapes of Wrath" and "There Will Be Blood", all through the eyes of 4 interesting and likable women in a 1930's family. I listened to this book as a CD and enjoyed the reader as well. My only complaint is that there is some meandering and digression before the book gets really good and I don't think I would have stayed with it, if I hadn' ...more
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Paulette Jiles is an American poet and novelist. Born in Salem, Missouri, she was educated at the University of Missouri with a degree in Romance Lanugages. Jiles lives in the Texas Hill Country on a small ranch.

More about Paulette Jiles...
Enemy Women The Color Of Lightning Lighthouse Island: A Novel North Spirit: Sojourns Among the Cree and Ojibway Sitting in the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma-Kola: A Manual of Etiquette for Ladies Crossing Canada by Train

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“And she understood, all by herself, without reading it in a novel or hearing it on a radio program, that falling passionately in love with someone, without reservation or holding back, was good for the heart. For its valves and its arteries and that invisible shadow of the heart clled the soul. Falling in love was good for the soul.
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