Pearl Spence is an 11 year old transplant to Michigan from Oklahoma when A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner opens. Pearl lives with her father and a family friend, Ray. Pearl’s mother is away, and as the story evolves, the reader realizes that her mother left the family shortly after the death of Pearl’s sister, “Beanie” back in Oklahoma.
Pearl wants nothing more than for her mother to come home, but until then, there is Opal, the family’s housekeeper, as well as Aunt Carrie to fill the role of mother. Eventually, Pearl’s mother does come back, but it’s not the happy occasion Pearl imagined. In fact, she finds herself wishing her mother had never returned!
This story is set in 1935/36, and there are echoes of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl, which Pearl and her family escaped. In addition, the family housekeeper, Opal, is of mixed race. While the town they live in is in Michigan, there is still much tension when it comes to race, especially since the town started offering dances that are not segregated.
My Thoughts on A Song of Home
This story is the third in a series. The first two, A Cup of Dust and A Trail of Crumbs, are set a year before, when Pearl was 10. Although Finkbeiner gives brief synapses of what transpired in the earlier books, I found myself feeling confused sometimes. I really wish that I had read the earlier two novels before reading this one. I think it would have made me appreciate even more deeply what Pearl, as well as her mother and father, were going through.
Pearl is a relatable narrator, and as an adult, I found myself sympathizing with her and wishing I could help her as she goes through so much difficulty in her life. I enjoyed that this story was set in Michigan and many of the towns I have been to were mentioned. I also love the historical period. There was much hardship for the family, but they also had strong family and friends they could rely on.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.
Note: I received this book from Kregel Publications in routine for my honest review. All opinions are my own.