October 08, 2011

Dear America: Dreams in the Golden Country by Kathryn Lasky

I've read two Dear America books now, this being the 2nd. I had heard great things about them, but so far, I found them merely average. These are children books, but that doesn't mean adults can't like them, and I usually like children's novels.

Zipporah and her family are new immigrants to America. Here they are starting over with a new life, but they have to make sure they are adjusting to life appropriately as it is very different from what they are used to. While her sisters each have something to occupy their time (boys, unions, etc.) Zipporah dreams of performing in the theatre or learning science. She does her best at school and works hard, but problems in her family make her lose some ground.

None of the characters were that great. Zipporah is kind of blah and while her sisters are interesting, they aren't given that much time in the book. Her father had the same problem. Meanwhile, her mother has some time spent to her in the book, but she was kind of an unlikable person, at least from Zipporah's eyes.

As far as plot goes there really isn't too much of a plot in this one. It just kind of bounces around Zipporah's first few years in America. There are a lot of different details thrown in, but they aren't explained. Since Zipporah and her family are Jewish there are a lot of terms and holidays thrown in the book, but they aren't described very well and I wish the author had taken more time to elaborate instead of just using them as filler. I don't know much about history of this time, but considering the story was interesting it has that going for it.

I might try some of the other Dear Americas, but I hope they turn out to be better than this one. A story can be interesting, but it also needs to be complete and go somewhere.

Dreams in the Golden Country
Copyright 1998
183 pages including pictures and history

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