Thursday, March 24, 2011
Book Review: Singer of an Empty Day by Flora Ann Scearce
Link for the book @ Publisher:
Link for the book @ Amazon:
Published by Tate Publishing July 2009/364 pages
Non-Fiction---the story is based on the life of the authors mother
Book 2 in this series is entitled Cotton Mill Girl published June 2007
Link for my review of this book:
These 2 books---Singer of an Empty Day and Cotton Mill Girl are some of my favorite books. I love them!
They are Southern stories, Appalachian Mountain stories, early 20th Century stories. The time period for both books are 1907 through World War I years. The author is currently writing a 3rd book that will be a continuation of Cotton Mill Girl.
The only thing I disliked about the book is the price @$19.00, especially for a paperback that is difficult to hold open.
Selena "Sippy" Wright and her younger sister Marietta or "Met" live with their parents Jim and Rachel up on Utah Mountain in North Carolina. When the book begins it is 1907 and a tragic fire burns their cabin. They move in with Sippy's great grandmother and other family members. The cabin is small and inadequate for all of them to live in. Sippy's daddy then built a new cabin only a holler from family. Sippy's mother soon delivers a stillborn baby boy after being sick during much of her pregnancy, I feel she had toxemia. Sippy's father is gone for long periods of time working at a Cotton Mill in another town. Soon the family makes a big decision to move and leave all that they'd known and loved up on Utah Mountain.
Singer of an Empty Day is a story that I became completely involved in: it is a page turner, it is memorable, and it reminds me of my own grandparents and the stories they shared with me.
I learned about the typical food that they ate and the schooling that they had. How they survived the cold winters, including the sparseness of available food. I learned that they wasted nothing, everything was used-- from old newspapers used to cover the walls of their homes, to eating unfamiliar parts of animals.
The unavailability of close doctors made sickness and delivery of babies difficult. Even with having a midwife to deliver a baby, and using medicinal mountain medicine, sickness and death happened.
I learned it was common for men to work a job far away and only come home to family occasionally, always just in time to create a new baby.
I learned that it was the staunch determination of the women that kept the home, and the children fed and clothed and safe.
The life of a child during the early 20th Century is detailed and powerful. They did not live in a world of television and school sports, or the latest techno. gadgets and toys. They too worked hard and often suffered because of sickness or malnutrition, or because their parents did not feel they needed to attend school any longer but instead go to work. Going to work as a child brought its own problems as well, in that the children often worked long hours and were prone to accidents and abuse by adults.
Several Mountain songs are given in the book. Mountain songs were carried over from the settlers that came to the Appalachian Mountains from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
This is an eye opening book and one that a person of young adult years through adult years would enjoy reading.