THE GROWING SEASON by Violet Olsen

THE GROWING SEASON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An authentically textured if not especially sharp recollection of growing up on an Iowa farm in 1931. Marie Carlsen longs for another girl in her country school's fifth grade; then scorns the slow, fat, bad-smelling Frannie when Frannie's dirt-poor family does move in; and is stricken with grief and guilt when Frannie's mother dies in childbirth. Marie's fatherless family's dull life picks up when a young, story-telling tramp named Nick shows up asking for a drink of water and stays on for weeks as a field hand. When Nick and older sister Rosie fall in love, Nick, who has no prospects to offer, leaves--and Rosie gets engaged to a fat and obnoxious but rich neighbor. With taxes unpaid and neighbors losing their farms to the banks, older brother Alfred, who hates farming (""It's killing me living here""), joins a farmers' strike and worries Mama with his wild angry talk. But then Uncle Jens in California sends money for Alfred to take an electrician's course in Chicago; and word comes that Rosie, who has left home, is married to Nick and working in Uncle Jens' orange grove. These contrived happy endings mar the story's low-keyed natural flow, but the story has appeal as a picture of how it was then.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum