Meaghan's Reviews > The Well and the Mine

The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips
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Sep 09, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: adult-novels, historical-novels, read-in-2011
Read from June 06 to 07, 2011

From the cover blurb I expected this to be a mystery book, a slim but dark thriller with all sorts of scary small-town secrets coming out. I was mistaken. This is instead a portrait of a small mining town and a family in that town going through the Depression and getting by as best they can. It's slow-moving but often sweet, like honey. Sweet as it is, though, I would not call it sentimental: the troubles the characters face are serious and very real.

Each member of the Moore family gets a turn to narrate, although Jack, the youngest, speaks as an old man recollecting events from long ago. Through their eyes you see the dangerous and difficult job of coal mining, the struggles to keep house properly while under great economic strain, the usual trials of growing up, and children from less fortunate families dying of malnutrition in full view of everyone. The business with the baby is brought up on a regular basis, but it takes a backseat to the rest of the story.

I enjoyed this book a lot. However, I must warn people that there are no thrills to be had here.

For a far more graphic depiction of a mining town during the Great Depression, written by a contemporary, check out Tillie Olsen's Yonnondio .
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