Length: 480 pages
Setting: backwoods Florida, end of the 19th century
Interest: It won the Pulitzer prize for fiction and fulfilled a letter on my reading challenge. Bonus – two for one!
Summary: The Baxters live on a pine barren island out in the backwoods of Florida, barely scraping a living from the soil surrounding their cabin. The story is told from the viewpoint of Jody, a 12-year old boy on the cusp of manhood. He delights in listening to his father’s tales and going hunting. Their closest neighbors in the bush are the Forresters, a rough bunch of guys. They start feuding when Jody’s cousin takes Buck Forrester’s girl, which leads to Penny (Jody’s father) betting bit by a rattlesnake and Grandma Hutto’s house being burnt down. Their life is an endless struggle to get enough food, which is made even more difficult when a hurricane blows in for days and floods the countryside just before harvest.
Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I found the place descriptions so lyrical and poetic. I love books that show so clearly what it took to survive before you could just go to the grocery store and get what you want. It was sad, as I expected, but it fit so well within the story that it had to happen. It’s written from the viewpoint of Jody, so it’s considered YA, but I can’t imagine a kid reading the book and enjoying it.
Title comes from: The fawn Jody adopts is a yearling when Jody has to kill him since the deer is destroying their crops.
Awards won: Pulitzer Prize