IN PLAIN SIGHT by Carol Otis Hurst

IN PLAIN SIGHT

Age Range: 11 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

News about the California Gold Rush and myths about the wealth “in plain sight” excite 11-year-old Sarah Corbin’s delightful but feckless farmer father. He takes off, leaving the family to manage at home in Massachusetts. Time in California and on the sea journey is relayed via the occasional letters he sends home to the struggling family. The girl worships her amusing father but is often at sword’s point with her strict, strong mother. But it is she who must fight to keep the farm and family together despite the shame of having to become a factory worker. Sarah and her siblings take up the basic farm work as they hope for their father’s return. Other details include a terrifying barn fire that puts Sarah out of commission and the introduction of a wealthy grandfather, who would take care of the family if his daughter, the mother, would agree. News comes of her father’s death and the family continues to adjust. Until this point, the story makes its point about the other side of the Gold Rush phenomenon: what it was like for the families left behind. Unfortunately, it veers off into a less-satisfying plot device wherein the father is discovered alive and in hiding. Less discerning readers will stick with the story because Sarah is appealing and her trials with her mother and the loss of her father will surely elicit sympathy. While enjoying the melodrama, they’ll also learn a little American history. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-19699-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2002




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