Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHEN MOLLY WAS A HARVEY GIRL by Frances M. Wood

WHEN MOLLY WAS A HARVEY GIRL

By Frances M. Wood

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-935279-51-8
Publisher: Kane/Miller

In a fictional account based on the experiences of her great-grandmother, Wood offers a vivid portrayal of life as a Harvey Girl in New Mexico in the 1890s. After their father dies, 13-year-old Molly’s older sister Colleen signs the pair of them up to work as Harvey Girls. These young women were hired as waitresses to bring gentility and sophistication to the high-end restaurants entrepreneur Fred Harvey created to serve passengers along the Santa Fe Railroad before the introduction of dining cars. Required to be at least 18, Molly reluctantly lies about her age and takes on the role of an adult, then struggles to cope with the angst-ridden life of the girls in the dormitory. She befriends the cranky chef and his two Mexican-American helpers, offending many who think she should not interact with those “beneath her.” While this effort never fully captures the grit-between-your-teeth reality of a frontier town, entertaining characters and a fast-paced plot will keep readers engaged. The gentle presentation of multiculturalism is an added feature. (historical note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)