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The Final Tide

The Final Tide

4.5 2
by Norma Cole

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School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-- Geneva Haw, 14, faces a year of perplexity in 1948. On a personal level, she is under pressure from her mother to fit an old-fashioned stereotype of what a lady should be, and her favorite pastimes have been banished. She wants to further her education, but her father sees no reason for her to do so. On a larger scale are the problems presented by the damming of the Cumberland River by the Tennessee Valley Authority. With their farmland soon to be covered by water, the Haws and their neighbors will lose centuries of tradition and the personal landmarks they hold so dear. It is Geneva's task to persuade thorny Granny Haw to move before the law or high water can do her harm. While Geneva's father and uncle debate the value of progress, quaint and cantankerous Granny arrives at a synthesis and cleverly leads Geneva to a better way of life. Resourcefully mixing humor and melancholia, Cole skillfully backlights some subcultural cross-currents of thought that are still operational today. She reconstructs the speech patterns of rural Kentucky and renders them much easier to read than the dialect found in Janice Hold Giles' novels. This is a good story by a talented outsider who has managed to distill what is rare and special about a time and a region so that readers can find some new level of understanding about people and the choices they make.-- Cindy Darling Codell, Belmont Junior High School, Winchester, KY

Product Details

Jesse Stuart Foundation, The
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 Years

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The Final Tide 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
It is 1948, and fourteen year old Geneva Augusta Haw lives on a farm in the Cumberland River Valley bottom of southern Kentucky with her father Dade and mother Mattie.  She will be going into the eighth grade at the small Hawford school and wants to go on to high school in the town after that, but her father isn’t sure that she will be able to do so.  Down the road lives her Uncle Bart, Aunt Ina, and favorite cousin and best friend Alice, along with younger cousins Kendall, James, Betty Lou, Tad, and baby Sissy.  And beyond them lives her Granny, Mrs. Augusta Kendall Hall, known as Gussie, who sometimes appears to be slightly senile.  Every spring, the rains cause a flooding of the river bottom which is called “the tide” and brings rich nutrients to the soil. However, this year there will be a “final tide” as the Wolf Creek Dam will be completed and turn the entire valley into a lake.  Geneva, her father, her uncle, and their families know that they will have to move.  However, Granny Haw refuses to consider moving from her home with its “treasures in blue jars” because she is determined to keep a promise to her departed husband to be buried beside him, so she insists that she will not permit his remains to be moved from the nearby cemetery nor leave herself.  She just knows that the Lord will call her to heaven before the time comes to move and is thus simply waiting to die.  What will happen to Granny?  Will Geneva be able to go on to high school and how?  And what are those “treasures in blue jars”?  As to language, there are some common euphemisms (drat, durn) and the term “Lordy” is used.  Once Geneva utters the “d” word, but quickly changes it to “drat,” and once Uncle Bart says the “h” word.  And references to school dances occur. Other than this, The Final Tide is an enjoyable young adult story about how a family deals with change and handles the problems which this change brings that would be good for middle grade and young high school students.  The conversations follow the speech patterns of rural Kentucky but are rendered in a way that is easier to read than some books using colloquial dialect.  Many people will appreciate the close, inter-generational family relationships which are portrayed.  Also, religion has obviously played an important part in their lives.  Author Norma Cole was born and reared in South Dakota, and spent many years in Michigan where she raised her family and taught school, but eventually moved to Monticello, KY, where she enjoys writing for children.  Her novel about the Haws is based on extensive research and stories which she heard from her neighbors.  It has been turned into a play entitled And the Tide Shall Cover the Earth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
. . . cover the earth. This book is a wonderful story encompassing Kentucky history and intergenerational relationships. I had the opportunity to work with Ms. Cole on her play "And the Tide Shall Cover the Earth" which was based on this novel. She was a remarkable author. All ages will enjoy this book. Especially good for middle and young high school students.