THIS TENDER LAND by William Kent Krueger: A Review

William Kent Krueger is one of my favorite authors, and I respect him for his wonderful writing as well as his versatility. He has said that he always wanted to write his version of Huckleberry Finn, and in Tender Land, He has done just that.

a wonderful captivating novel

This novel is “the unforgettable story of four orphans who travel the Mississippi River on a life-changing odyssey during The Great Depression.” It begins in Minnesota in 1932. It is a fast-paced page-turner, a big hearted book that has an outstanding ending and a closure-providing epilogue.

Odie O’Bannon and his brother, Albert, are sent as the only white boys to the Lincoln Indian Training School when they are orphaned. Why and how this happened is a mystery revealed in the very last pages. Odie is of a “lively nature,” which often gets him in trouble and sent to solitary confinement, the “quiet room.” Albert is older than Odie and his opposite, logical, mechanically-gifted, and eager to please because he recognizes the benefits of doing so.

After an incident at the school and a catastrophic tornado, the brothers escape, pursued by school officials, police, and authorities.They take Mose, another boy from the school, a Native American , and little Emmy, the daughter of the school’s teacher who was the only person kind to the three boys. Emmy has been orphaned by the tornado.She is pursued by the vicious headmistress who hates the boys and wants to enslave Emmy. The four children escape in an old canoe with the contents of the school’s safe, not only some money but incriminating papers reflecting fraud and corruption.

Along their journey, the children meet struggling farmers, traveling faith-healers, and Hooverville residents. Close calls and capture are too many to count, and the novel is filled with adventure, melancholy, and suspense.

It is a darned good read!


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Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

3 thoughts on “THIS TENDER LAND by William Kent Krueger: A Review”

  1. This is the only William Kent Kreuger book I have read, but I absolutely loved it. I have added others to my TBR and need to read them. Thanks for the reminder Rae. I agree, he is a wonderful writer.

    Like

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