We first meet Danny Garvey and his family in October of 1932 at the height of the Great Depression. The Garvey family lives in a tenement building in New York City and while they are still able to pay for food and shelter it is becoming more difficult with each passing day. Mr. Garvey has been without a job for a quite some time and it is Mrs. Garvey who takes in laundry and works round the clock to keep her children (Danny and his baby sister Maureen) fed and clean. Finally, Mr. Garvey decides to leave home in search of work and it is with great misgivings all around that he sets out promising both Danny and his Ma that he would return for Christmas. The story follows Danny as he bears witness to the hardships that the Garvey family and their friends and neighbors endure during one of America’s darkest eras. But it’s not all sadness as the reader follows the joy that Danny and his family find in the smallest of things: a clean bed, a bowl of oatmeal, a box of hoarded childhood treasures, earning a nickel for a giving a shoe shine, and a baby’s smile.
The story is told by Danny and leads the reader through the hardship and despair that was prevalent during the time yet offers hope for the characters’ future in the newly elected President Roosevelt’s New Deal. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as you become friends with the Garveys and their neighbors the Rileys. And you’ll swear you can smell the food cooking in the hallways of the tenement building where they live.
A realistic, well researched story based on the author’s own family stories. I highly recommend this story for young adults or for anyone interested in the economic history of the United States.
Rating: M M M M M