It’s the Depression, and Allie’s father has lost his job in New Haven, Connecticut. He has, however, found another job in Stamford. But that means the family — Allie, her brother Danny, and her parents — will be moving away from everything Allie has known.
However, when Allie finds out that they will be living on a street called Strawberry Hill, she is sure everything will be okay. How can it not be?
This is the story of how Allie comes to accept the inevitable, learn to like her new home, and make friends. It’s a quiet story, somewhat predictable, that follows Allie’s ups and downs over the first year that she lives in Stamford. There are new places to discover, a new school class to get used to, disappointments, some pretty mean girls (and there are ALWAYS pretty mean girls), new best friends, and unexpected friends.
What really made this book stand out for me, though, is the undercurrent of Jewishness. Allie and her family are Jewish — something that isn’t readily noticeable or even prevalent, unlike in, say, All-of-a-Kind Family, but nonetheless is still there. The only holiday we get is Hanukkah, and other than a few mentions of temple, that’s pretty much it, except for an instance of anti-semitism. That, in particular, I found intriguing, especially when Allie’s mom lays into the kid. It is the most obvious sign of the times — aside from a few mentions of lost jobs and hobos, the book could have been contemporary — and one that I thought was done quite well.
Overall, though, the book could have been better. According to the author blurb, Hoberman is a poet of some renown, and I couldn’t help but thinking that the language of the book just fell flat for me. I expected something more poetic, I guess.
That said, it is an interesting look at the Depression era and a nice story of friendship.
Rated: Mild for adult smoking … and because it just doesn’t feel like a none