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Posts Tagged «Mccarthyism»

The Paper Cowboy

Friday, January 29th, 2016

20821303by Kristin Levine, 341 pages, Grades 6 and up

At school Tommy is a smart and popular kid that gets away with a lot; he is handsome and charming and these qualities seem to allow him to get forgiven more often than held responsible for his misbehavior. At home, though, it is a different story. Anytime his mother experiences stress or embarrassment, she takes it out on Tommy, and viciously. Tommy’s dad has a lot of other things to worry about, and it seems like Tommy just keeps making bad choices and deserves the trouble he is in. It is the 1950s and no one really knows how to talk about domestic abuse. In addition to Tommy’s home stress, the community is up in arms over potential communists living among them; the country is following Senator McCarthy’s lead as he persecutes and bullies anyone he thinks is a communist sympathizer. In the midst of this tension Tommy’s older sister, the one person he can rely on in his family, ends up in the hospital, and her jobs including: delivering newspapers, bathing the baby, playing with the toddler, burning the trash, and on and on, fall to Tommy. Life is tough, but luckily so is Tommy.

If you enjoy historical fiction you might also like: Twerp, by Mark Goldblat, Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos, or Under the Blood Red Sun, by Graham Sallisbury.