Wednesday, March 04, 2009
TALLGRASS by Sandra Dallas
When I read the blurb about TALLGRASS, I was hesitant to read it. A book about the effects of a Japanese internment camp on a small town of sugar beet farmers in rural Colorado during World War II sounded pretty bleak. However, Ms. Purl highly recommended it so I had to read it.
TALLGRASS is tale in the tradition of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Dallas borrows heavily on themes and characters from that great work. The story is told from the perspective of Rennie Stroud, a 12-year-old girl whose family's sugar beet farm is a mile away from the Tallgrass Japanese internment camp. Rennie provides the reader with a view into the effects of this camp on the town and how the camp divides the people in their opinions of it and the people who inhabit it. When a murder occurs, the town becomes even more fractured. Rennie's father is an Atticus Finch type character who provides a moral compass to the story. He is the voice of reason when the town seeks retribution time and again against the Japanese.
The reader is quickly pulled into the story and it becomes hard to put down. My only complaint would be that the foreshadowing and hints were a bit heavy-handed. It became very clear what would happen. However, this did not diminish my enjoyment of the story.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. A great read about a subject matter that seldom shows up in novels.