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Wiechman, Kathy Cannon. Empty Places.

4Q * 4P * M

Wiechman, Kathy Cannon. Empty Places. Calkins Creek, 2016. 240p. $17.95. 978-1-62979-451-8.

Adabel Cutler, thirteen, is named after her beautiful mother, who ran away from the family when Adabel was young. The book takes place in rural Kentucky in 1932, when many people were going through hard times. Her father only works two shifts per week at the coal mine and spends the family money on moonshine. Raynelle, the oldest sibling, is caretaker of the family. Blissie, the youngest, clutches a handmade doll constantly, and their brother, Pick, is the recipient of their father's wrath when he drinks. No one knows where their mother is or why she left, but the rumors cause Adabel to question everyone who knew her. She desperately wants information about why she left them with an empty place in their hearts. When Pick leaves home after an exceptionally harsh beating from their drunken father, there is another empty place in Adabel's heart. When Raynelle becomes engaged to the grocer's son to help her family out and offers to care for Blissie when she marries, there is yet another empty place. Then Bliss is badly burned accidentally, causing a chain of events leading the family to answers they seek .They locate Pick, discover their grandmother is not dead but has remarried, and uncover the mystery to the older Adabel's disappearance.

The book paints a realistic picture of the difficult life coal miners and their families endured during the Depression era and the sacrifices they and their families made. It is a story of love, courage, and the havoc caused by lies. This title is highly recommended. --Rachel Axelrod.

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Author:Axelrod, Rachel
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2016
Words:275
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