Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Reviewed by Miss Dewey at Orenda

FIVE PAW PRINTS!!  It's the time of the Great Depression and Abilene Tucker and her father Gideon have always lived their lives by "riding the rails", looking for work and looking for food, but they have always been together.  But now it's 1936 and Abilene is 12 years old.  Gideon thinks it's time for his daughter to have a chance to "grow up" so he sends her to the town of Manifest, Kansas.  Gideon spent part of his childhood in Manifest and he thinks Pastor Howard (also known as Shady) would be a good person to leave in charge of Abilene while he works building railroad tracks in Iowa.  Though Abilene doesn't agree (she feels abandoned) with her father's opinion, she doesn't have a choice and she moves in with Shady.  While in Manifest, Abilene hopes to learn more about her father, who doesn't talk much about his youth, but instead she becomes friends with two local girls and ends up working for an old woman who doesn't have any family.  While spending time with Lettie and Ruthanne, they discover a mystery going back as far as World War I.  (Her time with Miss Sadie, the local fortune teller, is where she learns all about the people of the town from the past and the present.)  When you hear people say something is so good that "you'll laugh and you'll cry", you normally roll your eyes at the exaggeration of the statement.  This is one story where this description is NOT an exaggeration.  When I first started reading this story I thought I was going to have a terrible time keeping track of all the different characters from the different time periods.  Not only was the story so well told that I didn't have any troubles, but I didn't even need the list of characters in the beginning of the book.  I'm not sure words can fully capture how good a book this is.  You laugh when the underdog wins and you cry when the world comes crashing down on the same underdog.  But, to say anything else would completely give the story away.  RUN, don't walk to find a copy of this book and don't put it down until you finish reading.  To learn more about the author, visit http://www.clarevanderpool.com/home.html.

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