Thursday, December 13, 2007

Review: Gentle's Holler

Gentle’s Holler
By Kerry Madden
Puffin, 2005

Livy Two Weems is our young narrator. Twelve years old, she is already shouldering quite a burden. With two brothers and six sisters and one more on the way, Livy has her hands full trying to help her mama and daddy out.

Her daddy is on the road a lot. If he’s not trying to sell his banjo hits, he’s selling encyclopedias and baby food. But poverty isn’t the only hardship the Weemses face.

Livy knows that something is wrong with her sister Gentle’s eyes. This unspoken problem finally is resolved when the grandmother arrives. She will see that Gentle sees an eye doctor. She will make sure that everything that can be done will be done, an attitude that Livy shares. When her sister is diagnosed as being blind, Livy knows it’s up to her to take care of her, and she makes sure that her sister learns braille.

Set in North Carolina in the early 1960s, Gentle’s Holler is a pleasant read. The Weems family, while poor, is never lacking in love. And the warmth and strength of family shine through. Strength is one thing this family will need when tragedy strikes close to home.

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