Caryn's Reviews > Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
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's review
Apr 06, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: engl-420
Read in April, 2012

Billie Jo loves to play the piano, and she's good at it, too. Performing in town helps her to earn some money that her mother saves to send her to college one day, even though times are hard in dustbowl Oklahoma during the Great Depression. But then tragedy hits when an accident takes Billie Joe's mother, stillborn baby brother, and hideously burns her hands. She must then learn to live with the dust and her silent father in a land without any hope. I expected to connect with this novel much more than I actually did. It wasn't the free verse form--that allowed for several beautiful images, such as her mother pregnant in the rain--but rather a lack of emotion from Billie Jo herself, despite the horrific living conditions she endures. Recommended for upper middle grade to high school as one way to illustrate the horrors of the dustbowl.

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