Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Rose’s Journal: The Story of a girl in the Great Depression

Rose’s Journal: The Story of a girl in the Great Depression

Marissa Moss
Historical Fiction
For ages 8 to 12
Harcourt, 2001   ISBN: 978-0152024239

Rose's family live in what was to be called the dust bowl, and it is heartbreaking for her to watch her family farm slowly die of thirst, and too much dust. Dust has become a fact of life. Everything is covered by layer of dust or sand and people and animals end up eating and drinking a certain amount of it as well. When huge dust storms called "dusters" hit Rose's farming community everything grinds to a standstill until the storm is over. Then everyone has to dig out, clean up and pray for rain.

Because Rose's farm is not producing much, there is little to eat and her family lives in a permanent state of unhappiness and stress, worried about where the next meal is going to come from and how they are going to survive this calamity that has struck down their country. Rose's brother Lloyd and her father get into fights more and more frequently. For Lloyd, working a farm is not a decent way of life. He wants to become a comic book artist and eventually the tension between the boy and his father becomes too acute and Lloyd leaves the family home.

Presented in the form of a journal with handwritten text, odd little illustrations in the margins, period photographs, and other interesting artistic details, Marissa Moss has created a highly convincing book which carries the reader back in time. Moss sets the scene very well, and her careful background research pays off, making Rose's voice very authentic and her story very moving.