ABOUT THE BOOK:
(from back of book
My sister, my mother and I sat in a row on the front stoop of 238 North Pearl Street, feeling overwhelmed and diminished by the unfamiliar bustle of the big city. Beside the stoop was a stack of twine-bound cardboard boxes bulging with bedding, clothing and kitchen items.
Around t hem were clustered our few scraps of furniture looking scuffed and shabby in the unforgiving glare of daylight. It was Saint Patrick's Day, and the mid March sun felt good, but chill winter air still lurked in the shadows. The year was 1936; I was six years old, my sister was three, my mother was twenty-seven and we were beginning a new life.
We had been sitting on that stoop long enough for the gritty brownstone to mottle the backs of my legs between my short pants and my knee high stockings. My sister wore a starched, frilly dress that Mother had bought out of money meant to tide us over until we got on our feet because she wanted Anne-Marie to look pretty for the first time her father saw her, but the dress had got crushed during the long drive with the three of us crammed into half of the front seat of my uncle's rattletrap of a truck. And now we sat hip to hip on that step, Mother in the middle, my sister and I drawing comfort from contact with her, while she drew maternal strength and determination from contact with us. Anne-Marie was hungry and sleepy and close to tears. Taking her onto her lap, Mother looked anxiously up and down the street for my father whom she hadn't seen in four years, not since the morning he went out to look for work and didn't come back, leaving her with a toddler, a baby, and two dollars and some change in her purse.
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books (June 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400080371
- ISBN-13: 978-1400080373
Albany, N.Y. 1936 in a poor Irish neighborhood, a mother, son and daughter have once again been abandoned. The father had just not returned home from leaving one morning. This isn't the first time, but this time he had sent a letter convincing the mother to pack up their sparse belongings and head to 238 North Pearl Street. They sat on the tenement stoop for hours waiting for the father to return. They waited for him for 8 years. The LaPointes had no money and no where to turn. So they settled in the best they could, surviving the Great Depression and World War II. Pearl Street was filled with various crazy ladies, each made that way by circumstances beyond their control. This is a heart touching story of a young boy, Jean Luc who had to grow up way beyond his time, always thinking and dreaming of leaving this slum, trying to live up to his mother's unrealistic expectations. and somehow after years, escapes. Yes, escapes, but to what? A coming of age story that will bring out emotions and the descriptions of the characters and scenes will have you sitting on that stoop or crossing the street to Kane's grocery. At time the humor shows through and you can smile. You have to give it to this young, spunky boy living with expectations and responsibilities no child should have to. But for many, wanting a better life and knowing it's out there, you struggle on, hoping and praying for "your ship to come in". This family and so many others during this time, worked meanial jobs for pennies, had very little help from the government and somehow, make do. Where did that low life father go? Did he ever return? What happened to the sister who imagined some day of being a flapper or a designer? Dreams, kept them going. They had to have something to hold on to and so they dreamed, struggled and held it together. SOMEHOW!
I would give this book 5 STARS.