Aviann's Reviews > Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: eng-420


Out of the Dust tells of Billy Joe's growth and experience as she battles the Depression ridden Dust Bowl. Throughout the narrative Billy Joe must work to conquer many difficulties within her family. Early on in the text, Billy Joe accidently throws burning kerosene on her pregnant mother. Soon thereafter her mother and the new baby die and Billy Joe must cope with that loss and guilt. Indeed, that story revolves around Billy Joe struggling with loss as to her mother, her relationship with her father, a new sibling, her hands, her piano playing, and her psychological well-being. Yes the novel appears to revolve around loss and difficulty, however the end of the book turns hopeful as Billy Joe takes more control of her situation and begins to regain her losses.

This book was written entirely in poetry, which I loved. The poetry added beauty, brilliance and wonder to the text. Also, the poetry helped make the dust a character in the novel. This form greatly contributed to the general theme of the story. Some elements of the story appear more tendered to middle-grade readers, but I don't think it is too young for teenagers. Frankly, I remember reading this book when I was in 5th or 6th and struggling with some of the concepts, so perhaps it is better to read it later.

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