Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different

Tubb, Kristin O'Donnell. Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different. New York: Delacorte, 2008.

Autumn lives in Cades Cove, Tennessee during the Depression. She can't wait to leave the Cove for Knoxville. She longs for city living. Her grandfather's failing health ties her family to the Cove a little longer. Autumn acquires a sidekick in Cody, a boy from Knoxville staying with relatives in the Cove. She spies on Gramps as he promotes the National Park (when he thinks it will protect and enrich the Cove) and as he opposes it (when he discovers the Park will include the Cove).

What I thought: Autumn is a wonderful character. I'm glad she is the narrator and I heard her voice so clearly. Autumn is just the age my Grandma was during the Depression. Having a personal connection to the time further endears the story to me. As a native East Tennessean, I'm familiar with Cades Cove. I've visited there twice, once as a child and once in college. As a child, I remember being greatly disturbed when my dad told me the government took people's land to make the park. Now that I'm older, I'm still disturbed, but more so since I discovered that Cades Cove was quite a modern community, but all signs of modernity were destroyed to give the Cove the right feel for visitors. Thank you, Mrs. Tubb, for writing this story. It needed to be written.

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