“A Cup of Dust” and “A Trail of Crumbs” by Susie Finkbeiner

“A Cup of Dust” and “A Trail of Crumbs” are two books written by Susie Finkbeiner.  Her stories take place during the Great Depression as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.  The writing was so descriptive that I could almost taste the dust and grit in my own mouth as I read.  The depiction of life in Oklahoma, in the middle of the Dust Bowl, was heartbreaking.  Farmers became destitute…no food, no money, no hope.  Businesses closed down, no one had money to purchase anything.  You could only barter so much.  Many pulled up stakes and headed west to greener pastures.

Pearl Spence and her family lived in Red River, Oklahoma, where her father was the sheriff.  Pearl was a normal little girl, not particularly interested in doing girly things, but more interested in climbing trees and getting dirty, which was not hard to do with dust blowing all the time.   Keeping house during this time was a waste of good energy because as soon as you swept it up, it just came in under the doors and through the cracks in the window frames.  Pearl was mostly a happy girl with a best friend in Ray Jones.  Ray and Pearl did lots of things together, and got into trouble together too.

I loved these stories.  They were written in the vernacular of the time and the expressions used were reminiscent of life in the country.  The accounts of life in the dust made me appreciate the life we live now.  No one knows how hard life and living was in the ‘30s.  Fortunes made were fast dispensed as the laws of nature dealt a harsh blow to the midland.


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