ME, CALIFORNIA PERKINS by Patricia Beatty

ME, CALIFORNIA PERKINS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Creator's dumping ground"" is what Ma calls Mojaveville, the 1882 silver mining town the Perkins family reaches after Uncle Hiram's deceptive letter, and in protest she takes the kids and leaves Pa to board with the grubby bachelors. Callie, Orrie and Wash help her move into the whiskey bottle house Hiram bought the week he had money and Ma remains firm: Pa has to ask to come back and the kids must have a school. With the help of the resident spinster, Jennieveva Acheson, they get a school board and then a teacher, and when she marries, another teacher. . . and then another. The turnover is tremendous (no marrieds allowed) until Callie puts the women wise: only school board members marry the newcomers--Hiram has a lottery going. A little blackmail elicits Hiram's resignation and Ma finagles MISS Acheson into the vacancy. The next teacher. MR. Richard de Vere. . . . Callie's unforced innocence (she's almost thirteen) shows the social set-up in revealing incidents: the arrival of the first bathtub, the reactions to symptoms of diphtheria, the resentment of Cornish mining family immigrants. Mrs. Beatty returns to a favorite locale (Bonanza Girl, etc.) in a viable child's view of adulthood, showing that kids see the darndest things.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 1968
Publisher: Morrow