Monday, November 4, 2013

House of Earth, by Woody Guthrie

Tike and Ella May live in the plains of Texas, in the middle of the Dust Bowl.  Due to their lack of financial stability, they do not own their home or their land, but instead are renting from a wealthy landowner.  Together they dream of building a adobe home made out of the earth, something that will weather any storm, and serve their family well.  That dream is the one thing that keeps them going amidst a landscape full of despair.

I was so fascinated by this book.  First off, the fact that this book was written over 60 years ago, and is just now coming to fruition is an amazing thought.  The Dust Bowl Days is a period of American history with which I am not terribly familiar.  Because I have always lived in the Mid-Atlantic/Mid-West areas of the country, no one that I have never really known anyone whose experience of the Depression included the Dust Bowl.  I felt like the author did an excellent job setting the scene and explaining the trials of the characters.

Speaking of characters, I thought Tike and Ella May were absolutely fascinating.  In many ways, I got very little sense of their specifics.  I could not really get a mental image of them in mind.  Then it hit me, they are us.  They are the "everyman" archetype characters.  We all can relate to them, and their desire to have something of their very own.

I was really struck by the writing.  I do not think a book like this could be written by a modern writer without sounding trite, but from Woody Guthrie it sounds deep, earnest, and relatable.  I was surprised how much the core struggle of this book is still relatable in today's world.  I was also really surprised by how sensual the writing was.

It is rare that a book surprises me as much as this one did.  But the surprise was entirely welcomed.

I received  a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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