1946: Strawberry Girl (or, good fences make bad neighbors)

VERDICT: Trash

Sally’s Rating: 2/5

Lois Lenski’s Strawberry Girl was a tough book to get through. Riddled with rough language and a thick Southern dialect, this book focuses on a boundary dispute between two feuding families in Florida.

The feud plot did not grab my attention at all. The two neighboring families try to one up each other, resulting in some despicable things being done to each other like killing farm animals, cutting barbed wire fences and letting wild animals wander into their neighbor’s fields. It was hard to care about any of the characters. While Birdie is charming and sweet, all the other characters are so awful that it’s hard to enjoy this book. Her growing friendship with Shoestring was handled well, and I liked their interactions with one another as Shoestring constantly tries to scare and tease her in a believable kid-like way.

The last minute religious conversion at the end of the book felt unearned. Slater’s ensuing atonement was too quick and made the ending come together too sweetly, especially after all the awful things he did to the Boyer family.

Even the illustrations are not particularly enticing. The black and white sketches are well drawn, but this book could have used a bit of color and excitement to spice it up a bit.

Strawberry Girl was a big miss for me. The dialect was too much of a chore to get through that it was almost impossible to follow the uninteresting plot.

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