January 26, 2011

Addie of the Flint Hills

Part of my research for the Seasons of the Tallgrass series includes reading all I can about the Kansas Flint Hills. This past fall, I came across this book about Adaline Sorace. I've found it quite interesting and well worth reading. 


Addie of the Flint Hills 
A Prairie Child During the Depression


Addie of the Flint Hills is the autobiography of a small-town American girl whose life is played out against the turbulent economic times of the 1920s and 1930s.

Addie wrote this book in reaction to all the news about the economic difficulties America is facing today. She wanted her grandchildren and other members of a younger generation to know that “Today is heaven.”  Addie, her parents and her grandparents lived through hard times and, almost without realizing it, built something better for themselves and their communities.  Her message is one of hope for the future whatever the present circumstances may bring.

Addie’s vivid memories transport the reader back into the hardscrabble life that was typical for her generation. And, in the end, Addie of the Flint Hills weaves a complex tale of ordinary folks struggling with universal themes: a family struggles as the economy falters, a father is away at work, a highly educated woman and mother is alone, and a young girl never learns that she is beautiful.  During the 1915-1935 timeframe covered in the book, the U.S. economy enjoys booming commodity and land prices, then a scorching bust and drought.

Throughout it all, Addie offers a true and fair account, often self-critical, without commentary or later reflections. She invites readers to come to their own conclusions after her report has soaked in.  She chronicles life; she does not moralize about it.  In the end, her tale of human struggle transcends time and place to provide strong echoes with our modern family situations and current economic times. 

"…a hauntingly beautiful memoir ... that adds to the growing literature about life on the Great Plains.  Like Willa Cather's My Antonia, She evokes the human drama set within an epic-scale landscape."
-Denise Low, Poet Laureate of Kansas 2007-2009
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