Pecking Order

Kevin McColley, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16 (215p) ISBN 978-0-06-023554-3
This timeless tale of heartland hardships is told from the point of view of Tom Morrell, whose family has farmed the same Minnesota land for five generations. The boy's opening statement, ``If I had my choice, I'd be back on the farm. I kid you not. And I don't even like the farm,'' precedes a series of painful ironies about country pride and the work ethic. The family's ``blessings,'' often expounded upon by Tom's fervently religious mother, become less and less bountiful with drought, crop failure and the threat of foreclosure. Even after Tom's father takes a second job, the Morrells have trouble making ends meet. Mounting tensions lead to Mrs. Morrell's mental breakdown and to her husband's untimely death. Although this thought-provoking book has some light moments, its sober overtones dominate. Exploring human vulnerability and the psychological effects of economic disaster, McColley's discomforting first YA novel recalls the ambience of the Great Depression, yet has particular relevance for the '90s. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Hardcover - 215 pages - 978-0-06-023555-0
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