Papa is a good liar—he can tell a fib all the way from Ripley to Nashville to calm everyone down or make a situation seem better, including the Great Depression. But the day he promises fourteen-year-old Caroline that everything will be okay when he leaves the farm to find work elsewhere, she isn’t so sure. After all, George told her something very similar not long ago. And they haven’t heard from him since.
His loud laugh echoes in her mind, especially in the silence of the cotton fields. How could her favorite brother possibly have died in the Ohio River floods the way the rest of the family says? Now that the women are left to take care of the farm, Caroline has to believe he’ll come back. Otherwise, she won’t have the strength to do her share of the work while looking after her sickly little sister Phoebe and telling her hopeful stories about the Growing Rock that George always said grew magically larger every summer. But as time moves on, Caroline feels more and more discouraged. Except for the town’s strange recluse, she often has no one to talk to. It doesn’t help that she feels different now around her best friend Peter, and, on top of everything, her older sister Blanche constantly runs off. When tragedy occurs that threatens to break the large family apart even more, will Caroline give into the hopelessness that has consumed Mama?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a heartwarming story that depicts life in the South during the Great Depression. The struggles told here are real, and older readers can fully relate to this simpler, yet difficult, time in America’s history. Young adult readers, the intended audience, will gain an understanding and appreciation for a time when families had few materialistic possessions and luxuries. Forced to face life’s struggles and heartaches at an early age, Caroline warms the readers’ hearts as she stresses the importance of family unity in the midst of hardship.