This is a biographical novel about a girl, Francie Nolan, growing up in Brooklyn during the earlier part of the 20th century. She and her younger brother live in a shabby apartment with their alcoholic father and their mother, who supplies most of the family’s income by cleaning houses and doing other odd jobs. When the children are older, they take on paper routes and other work. Her mother’s family is supportive, but their resources are also limited.
When Francie is fourteen, her father dies, and her mother gives birth to a third child. With the added financial burden of an extra mouth to feed, Francie is forced to put her dreams of higher education on hold. The ending is satisfactory, yet unrealistic.
This book is hard to put down. There’s a lot of narrative, but it’s necessary in order to move the story along, since it spans over a decade. Everyone should read it to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be poor and thus be thankful for what they have and compassionate towards those less fortunate.
The following poem was inspired by Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. If you missed it, click here. You’ll note that instead of the words “slow” and “work,” I used “job” and “plodding.” You can click the Play button below the poem to hear me read it. Enjoy!
I could not,
keep a plodding pace.
I had to move quickly
from one task to another,
stopping only for breaks and lunch.
Now, I’m my own boss, keep my own pace,
decide how and when to use all my time.
Here’s Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge for this week. Her words are “slow” and “work,” and the idea is to write a traditional-form poem using only synonyms of these words. If you participate, please be sure to complete the form on her post so she can link to your post next week in her update. Good luck, and stay tuned for my response.
This week’s theme, according to newepicauthor, who hosts this challenge, is “no.” The song I’m featuring is from the musical, Oklahoma. I can understand how the girl in the song feels about not being able to say no, but at least I can say no to what she can’t. How about you?
It ain’t so much a question of not knowin’ what to do
I knowed what’s right an’ wrong since I been ten.
I heared a lot of stories an’ I reckon they are true
About how girls are put upon by men.
I know I mustn’t fall into the pit
But when I’m with a feller, I fergit!
I’m just a girl who cain’t say ‘No’
I’m in a terrible fix!
I always say ‘Come on, let’s go’
just when I oughta say ‘Nix.’
When a person tries to kiss a girl
I know she oughta give his face a smack!
But as soon as someone kisses me
I somehow sorta wanna kiss him back!
I’m just a fool when lights are low
I cain’t be prissy an’ quaint
I ain’t the type that can faint
How can I be what I ain’t?
I cain’t say ‘No!’
Whatcha gonna do when a feller gets flirty
An’ starts to talk purty
Whatcha gonna do?
Sposin’ that he says
That your lips are like cherries,
Or roses, or berries?
Whatcha gonna do?
Sposin’ that he says
That yer sweeter ‘n cream
and he’s gotta have cream or die?
Whatcha gonna do when he talks that way?
Spit in his eye?
I’m jist a girl who cain’t say ‘No’,
Cain’t seem to say it at all
I hate to disserpoint a beau
When he is payin’ a call!
Fer a while I ack refined and cool,
A settin on the velveteen setee
Nen I think of thet ol’ Golden Rule,
And do fer him what he would do fer me!
I cain’t resist a Romeo
In a sombrero and chaps
Soon as I sit on their laps
Somethin’ inside of me snaps
I cain’t say ‘No’!
Although this book was designed for children ages four to nine, I think animal lovers of all ages would find it inspiring. It’s the true story of how a blind lamb became the top sheep in her flock on a farm in Wisconsin. The author describes how he and his wife discovered Peanut was blind and how they helped her adapt to her blindness and surroundings. He also explains how other sheep interacted with Peanut and how he and his wife solved a bullying problem.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Thompson and his wife Laura when they attended a recent meeting of Behind Our Eyes, a group of writers with disabilities, of which I’m President. Through his experiences with Peanut, he seems to have developed a deep understanding of what it’s like to be blind. As a result, he has ensured that Peanut of Blind Faith Farm is available through the Wisconsin State Library’s Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement program. Laura narrates their recorded version of this book and does an excellent job.
Jim has conducted presentations at schools and other locations and even given a copy of his book in braille to a blind boy who visited his farm. He has a knack for writing about his love of farming and animals, and I hope he will write more about this in the future. Meanwhile, I recommend Peanut of Blind Faith Farm to children of all ages, blind or not.