I needed a good book to read on these long, cold days and A Cup of Dust was the perfect book to cuddle up with. It had it all with surprising twists and turns to keep me invested in the story. I don’t read as much as I used to so I’m fairly picky about my book choices. This one appealed to me because of the historical element with the dust bowl but it’s also unusual to have a little girl at the forefront of the story so I thought that would be an interesting take.
Finkbeiner obviously did homework with regards to the dust bowl and painted a clear picture as to what it would have been like to live through it. It was dark and depressing and in many ways represented the time for Pearl Spence and her family in other ways.
I expected this book to be just about the dust bowl but the story is so much more than that to where the dust bowl is basically just backdrop. Pearl has a hard live and not what you’d expect for a child. Her character has a depth to her well beyond her years.
The book is perfectly paced picking up speed just when some excitement is needed. A Cup of Dust was a pleasant surprise and the best read of this year for me so far.
About the Book
Where you come from isn’t who you are
Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.
Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.
Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.
While the tone is suspenseful and often poignant, the subtle humor of Pearl’s voice keeps A Cup of Dust from becoming heavy-handed. Finkbeiner deftly paints a story of a family unit coming together despite fractures of distress threatening to pull them apart.
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