CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 3. . . .September 17, 2010
Set in Vancouver during the Depression of the 1930s, Lois Peterson’s Silver Rain tells the story of 11-year-old Elsie. Abandoned by her father right when her family needs him most, Elsie’s family finds itself barely making ends meet after the bank takes their house. Living in the old garage behind their once-happy home, Elsie finds that her close proximity to the leftovers of her old life gives her bitter daily reminders of her family’s current poor state. With curtains strung up to form bedrooms, Elsie shares the garage space with her mother, grandmother, uncle, and her uncle’s beloved dog, Dog Bob. Elsie’s mother and uncle manage to find piece work here and there to keep the family afloat, but it never seems to be enough. Compared with her friend Ernest’s home life, Elsie’s is very poor, and she feels this difference keenly.
While Elsie struggles to come to terms with her father’s abandonment and her family’s hopeless situation, she tries to keep herself occupied by ferreting out the next big news story with her friend Ernest, nicknamed “Scoop,” a young reporter in the making. Armed with Scoop’s trusty notebook, Elsie and Scoop vow to find Elsie’s father and bring him home. They set off into the city’s shanty-town with Elsie’s uncle and dog in tow, but when they encounter ruffians and hoboes and see no sign of Elsie’s father, they turn back. However, Elsie refuses to give up and holds out hope that her father will return to them. As the story goes on, Elsie and Scoop find little diversions to occupy the boring drudgery of daily life. When they hear about a local thirty-day dance marathon that offers the winners a $1000 prize, Elsie and Scoop are mesmerized. Desperate to learn more about this strange contest, Elsie and Scoop find a way to attend the marathon and learn more about the horrible realities of the Depression than they bargained on.
Amy Dawley is the teen librarian at the Prince George Public Library in Prince George, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.