What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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UNSOLVED: One specific book > Fiction: Coming of age Americana, set in the 1920s-1940s? Written pre-1980s

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message 1: by Brynn (new)

Brynn Connelly | 2 comments I don't have a lot of information about the plot of the book I'm looking for, but this scene made such an impact on me that I'm hoping someone else remembers it. I've searched Google to no avail and my partner is tired of hearing me think aloud about it, so you're my only hope!

The book in question has almost a Kerouac-y or Catcher in the Rye quality. I know that's vague, but the book is vague to me.

In the scene in question, the main character and a new friend are relaxing in the fields after doing some farm labour. I think someone rolls and smokes a cigarette. They work in a small group and are taking a break after a long day in the sun. At some point, the "friend" character has their hair pulled into the machinery they've been using (an auger? combine?) and the thing I most remember is how the mangled person was described (sorry). There was a lot of very descriptive discussion about the character's long, light blonde hair being stained with blood.

I know this is incredibly vague and I don't have much hope of finding the book. I do feel like it must have been somewhat of a classic given that I read it during my high school years. Any help is appreciated!


message 2: by Tab (new)

Tab (tabbrown) | 4782 comments Do you remember what year you read the book?
Anything about the cover?

Do you remember where in America the story takes place? South, midwest, a specific state, a fictitious US town, etc?


message 3: by Brynn (new)

Brynn Connelly | 2 comments I only have very vague memories of it because I was probably in middle school or early high school when I read it. I think it had to have been on a school reading list. It definitely took place in the U.S. -- likely the midwest? The main character was traveling and only stopped to work in the fields for a short time. After the death of his friend, he moved on.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah MacPherson | 44 comments I don't know the title but that scene sounds very familiar to me as well. This sounds like a book I also read in school, waay back, probably in the seventies. If I'm getting this wrong, I apologize, but if I can add some details maybe someone will recognize it, because now it's starting to drive me crazy too. Did the main character, a boy, not have a name, and the girl who was killed was about to give him a name right before she was killed?


message 5: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (last edited Feb 06, 2017 09:13PM) (new)

Lobstergirl | 37354 comments Mod
I do recall a death by threshing machine in My Ántonia by Willa Cather although that was a suicide, not an accident. It was published in 1918. Set in Nebraska and it's a classic.


message 6: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4100 comments The Loner by Ester Wier?

Summary from 35 Best Books for Teaching U.S. Regions: Using Fiction to Help Students Explore the Geography, History, and Cultures of the Seven U.S. Regions—and Link Literature to Social Studies: "The boy" can't remember having a mother or father. He's worked in the fields as long as he can remember, traveling with anyone who will give him shelter in exchange for his earnings. Once, he becomes close enough to a migrant girl that she almost gives him a name, but she's killed when her long yellow hair is caught in a potato- digging machine.

Someone is searching for similar book here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah MacPherson | 44 comments Ayshe wrote: "The Loner by Ester Wier?

Summary from [book:35 Best Books for Teaching U.S. Regions: Using Fiction to Help Students Explore the Geography, History, and Cultures of t..."

I'm curious to see if the OP comes back and verifies if this is the book they were looking for. It certainly sounds like the one I remember and the fact that it was a Newbery Honor winner would explain why we were reading it in school. : )


message 8: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 15152 comments Still looking, Brynn?


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