Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Buttermilk Hill

Buttermilk Hill

Ruth White
For ages 10 to 12
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006   ISBN: 978-0374410032

Piper Berry can hardly believe what is happening to her family. Divorce. Her parents are going to get a divorce. Now Piper and Mama are living in a trailer, and Daddy is staying at the Tarheel truck stop which is owned and operated by his family. Worse still, Piper feels that Daddy has abandoned her, and she also feels that Mama has no time for her either. Mama is determined to finish getting her college degree so that she can become a school music teacher. To be able to afford this, Mama is working hard at an English pub in Charlotte almost every day of the week. Then Daddy lobs another bombshell at his already reeling daughter – he finds a new woman to share his life with, a woman who has twin sons.

So now Piper spends most of her spare time at the Tarheel with Lindy and her friend Bucky. Their friendship helps to ground Piper. Then Piper discovers something new to help her through her loneliness and anger; Piper begins to write poetry. Somehow getting her feelings down on paper in poetry form seems to help.

One day Piper writes a very special poem in which she describes a young girl’s dreams to have a horse of her own. The poem earns her the admiration of both friends and family members and it ultimately helps her to reconnect with the people whom she loves most.

With sympathy and an acute appreciation for a young girl’s fears, hopes and dreams, Ruth White takes her readers on an unforgettable journey to North Carolina in the 1970's. As she begins to find her feet, Piper comes to understand that pursuing ones dreams can be frightening, but if one doesn’t try one might end up regretting the lost opportunity for the rest of ones life. With her poems to help her, Piper does her best to find the courage to be herself and to face the unknown.