A Time of Troubles

Pieter Van Raven, Author Scribner Book Company $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19212-3
Reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath , this period novel conveys the hopes and disillusionments of impoverished families migrating to California during the Depression. Through the experiences of 14-year-old Roy Purdy and his ex-convict father, the story explores how values are tested when survival becomes a struggle. After serving time for arson, Mr. Purdy convinces his son that they should leave their Chesapeake Bay community and begin a new life in L.A., where work is more plentiful. The two travel west by bus; once their money runs out, they are forced to rely on the generosity of strangers for shelter, food and transportation. When Mr. Purdy takes a job that involves the exploitation of pickers, Roy breaks ties with his father and helps the underpaid workers fight for their rights. As in his last novel, Pickle and Price , van Raven presents a historically accurate slice of Americana as he traces a boy's cross-country journey. His starkly realistic characters and images will leave a lasting impression. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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