This one’s about a family from Minneapolis . . . that moves to a
small town to buy and operate a little mom and pop grocery store.
As the story opens, Brendan, aged 12, is riding in the back seat of a 1928
DeSoto with his nearly 80 year old grandfather. His father is driving
and adding water to the radiator every few miles. His mother is
chattering away about the scenery, and wondering aloud if this plan,
this move, will work out. The time is the 1940s during World War II.
They are Catholic, and they don’t realize that in Plum, their destination,
it matters whether you are Lutheran or Catholic. It’s not a huge part of
the story, but it is a significant part.
You soon are involved in the personalities of the town–and the kids
Brendan meets. If there are bad traits in some of the characters,
there is also a softness to them that the author doesn’t let us forget.
It’s hard to start all over. Being used to city life makes it difficult to
adjust to a small town. I don’t know city life, but I do know small town
life and I could recognize some of the issues.
We sort of stand in the wings as the story unfolds and hope things
work out for the best. But that’s just the point–should we do more than
just stand in the wings? Should we help? Should we forgive?
Before you know it you’ve finished the book.
A New York Times Book Review said: “A writer good enough to restore
your faith in fiction.”
I agree. I read “Staggerford” a few years ago by Jon Hassler and put a
star in my book record. I think I’ll do the same for this one.