The Longest Road

Jeanne Williams, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (389p) ISBN 978-0-312-08838-5
Four-time Golden Spur award winner Williams ( The Island Harp ) fills her Depression-era saga with gritty details and keen social observations. Laurie, 11, and her younger brother, Buddy, are left with their much-despised grandfather in Oklahoma after a dust storm kills their mother and decimates their family farm, inspiring their father to seek work in California. Determined to join him, the children hop a freight train, with Laurie posing as a boy. A series of chance encounters shapes their future. An unlikely tramp inspires Laurie with his music and gives her a harmonica; another hobo with surprising talents becomes the children's protector. And a sinister entrepreneur emerges as their nemesis. A procession of bleak shantytowns, rapacious employers and impoverished families mirrors the nation's tragedy. Eventually, the advent of WW II and oil strikes in Texas put a different twist on Laurie and Buddy's adventures, but at this point multiple subplots (battle dramas, romantic interludes) begin to spin out of control. On the whole, however, Williams's colorful story keeps the reader engaged. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 389 pages - 978-0-595-16101-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-95239-6
Show other formats
Discover what to read next