Thursday, November 1, 2007

Book Review: Hattie Big Sky

Hattie Big Sky
by Kirby Larson, 289 pages, c2006

The story of a tough young woman who calls herself "Hattie Here-and-there" because she has been passed around to so many relatives. When she gets the chance to prove up on her late uncle's Montana claim (homesteading and farming in order to claim the land), she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, Montana isn't all blue skies -- especially with WWI affecting everyone.

The story is roughly based on the life of one of its author's ancestors -- who was a real Montana homesteader. It is a poignant read, good for the juvenile and young adult audience that it's intended for. If you want more gritty and gruesome, search out These is my words, but if you want conflict and realism with a few more blue skies, stick with Hattie.

At times Hattie was, for my taste, a bit too philosophical. However my slight annoyance with her philosophizing was addressed well by another character in the book, who chastises her for it. Once I knew that the author knew that I might feel that way, and once she (yep, Kirby's a she) had nodded to me on it, I was fine. Overall a very satisfying piece of historical fiction, and, in case you didn't know, a 2007 Newberry Honor as well.

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