As Far as Mill Spring

Patricia Pendergraft, Author, Judith Gorog, Author Philomel Books $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-399-22102-6
In the tradition of Oliver Twist , this dark saga relates the hardships of an underfed, overworked foundling who runs away from his foster home. Times are hard in 1932 when 12-year-old Robert sets out for Mill Springs in search of his real mother. While contending with hunger, bitterly cold weather and a few run-ins with unsavory characters, Robert encounters many other homeless people who offer helpful advice. After surviving a string of disasters, Robert is rewarded for his perseverance. Although his dream of a warm family reunion is never realized, he does at last find happiness. In this novel, as in her last ( The Legend of Daisy Flowerdew ), Pendergraft makes a strong moral statement about society's treatment of unfortunates, evokes a folksy flavor through dialect and local color, and introduces a balance of sympathetic characters and despicable villains. Though some may be bothered by the author's use of exaggeration and contrived plot twists, others will relish the effect of heightened drama. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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