Out of the Dust
By: Karen HesseSynopsis
When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.
Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.My Thoughts
Incredibly gritty and heartbreaking, Out of the Dust tells the story of a teenager living during the dustbowl in western America. Rain hasn’t come for quite some time, the crops are dying, the animals are suffering and the people are struggling just to survive. Billie Jo, our main character, sees everyone barely getting by and in the beginning, worries only about herself. Wanting to hang out with her friends, play her piano, and just go to school, Billie sees her parents falling farther into despair. Her life takes a devastating turn, when she accidentally hurts her mother, resulting in her death days later.Now alone with her father, Billie Jo faces growing up by herself and dealing with the guilt of having a hand in her mother’s death. The days flow together in an endless cycle of dust storms and hopelessness. The crops won’t grow, the rain won’t come, and everyone seems to just be getting more desperate. Hesse absolutely brings out the emotion in this novel and in the end, a happy future isn’t assured. At the finish of the novel, Billie accepts that life is hard and sees hope as the rains come. Sad, melancholy, and heart wrenching in parts, the lives of Billie and her family are not happy and they struggle for everything they have or hope to be. An incredible resource for the era with great historical details, Out of the Dust shares what life could have been like for the lower class of America during the dust bowl and during F.D.R.’s presidency
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
# of Pages: 256
Date of Publication: June 1, 2005