Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman (Little, Brown and Co. 2009)

December 23, 2009 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Alice, known as Allie, loves living in an apartment in the Greenberg’s house in New Haven because her best friend is Ruthie the landlord’s daughter. It is the Depression and Allie’s father works in Stamford. He can only come home on weekends. Now, however, her father has rented a home in Stanford with the lyrical name of 12 Strawberry Hill., Allie reluctantly moves. On day one a neighbor, Martha comes by. They are both going to be in fourth grade and Allie has found a new best friend. Martha and Allie notice another girl their age on the block, Mimi, but Martha dismisses Mimi by saying she is a crybaby. The ups and downs of fourth graders’ friendships are minutely observed. Allie gets her first whiff of anti-Semitism when Martha’s best friend Cynthia calls her a dirty Jew. She discovers that Mimi, in spite of Martha’s putdown, is an interesting person. Throughout the book Allie constantly reevaluates what it means to be a friend. She also becomes aware of the cruelty and indifference of her friends’ parents. Glimpses of how the Depression affects schoolmates’ lives impact her consciousness.  This is a gentle realistic book of a young girl maturing.

J Fiction, Recommended –  Lillian Hecker (PEL)

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