Hello, everyone, I am Richard Brookman the Consultant for Southwest Kansas Library System and the owner and co-host of the podcast ComicPop Library.
In today’s Book Byte, I am going to be discussing Paulette Jiles’ book entitled Stormy Weather, published by Harper Perennial in 2008, original copyright is 2007. This is a trade paperback edition borrowed from the Bucklin Public Library.
I had to give this title a little time. For me the first third of the book was hard to get through, because I am not a fan of reading stories about parents that are not doing a great job of parenting. And the Father of Jiles’ work, Jack, is not the best father or even person. He takes his family all over Texas trying to find work during the depression. During these travels Jack drinks, gambles away money, and even strays from his wife. Always coming back to the home as a sad sack.
The story centers around a middle daughter of Jack and Elizabeth Stoddard, named Jeanine. She has an older sister Mayme and a younger sister Bea.
This is bad to say, but thankfully Jack is out of the picture after the first third of the title and the ladies move back to the family farm outside of Mineral Wells, Texas. At this point is when the novel takes off for me.
The family farm is run down and it is up to the ladies to get it back up and running through their grit and determination. Along the way we get to see the chances these ladies take on oil, horse racing, and life in general.
One of the few ways to escape this hardship is through the family radio. It’s not a prominent feature in the novel, but it plays a central role in taking the day to day pressures off of a family and country during these trying times. The radio is also the main way of the family to keep up with the news happening in their area of Texas and the United States as a whole.
The title doesn’t end like some readers might like. It gives the direction the family is going in and then the reader is left to take it from there. Like anything some readers like this style of ending some don’t, mileage will vary.
I’m Richard Brookman for Radio Reader BookBytes.