Mike's Reviews > A Long Way from Chicago

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
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Sep 17, 2012

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Read in April, 2005

Joey and Mary Alice are two city kids from depression era Chicago who have to spend a week each summer with their Grandma Dowdel. The children are sure that only boredom awaits them in Grandma's small country town. But every year, Grandma Dowdel manages to surprise the kids with something unforgettable.

With Joey narrating, each chapter is an episode from the yearly visits. Grandma Dowdel has no use for the daily dramas of small time life, and generally tries to keep to herself. But she always manages to find herself as the equalizer, the person who rights some wrong or has to put big-headed people back in their place. The deceptively sly Grandma Dowdel takes on everybody from the town banker, the sheriff, the slick city news reporter, and the local hooligans. And every time she comes out on top with hilarious results.

In Grandma Dowdel, Peck has created another unforgettable trickster, who along with Bugs Bunny and Robin Hood, is larger than life. Grandma Dowdel's adventures continue in a sequel, A Year Down Yonder, which I can't wait to read.

A Long Way From Chicago won the Newbery Honor Book Award and was a National Book Award finalist.
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