Cover image for Halley : a novel
Title:
Halley : a novel
Author:
Gibbons, Faye, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Montgomery : NewSouth Books, [2014]

©2014
Physical Description:
197 pages ; 23 cm
Summary:
Times are hard in Depression era Georgia mountain country. Even so, fourteen-year-old Halley Owenby, her younger brother, Robbie, and their parents, Jim and Kate manage to get by until Jim dies suddenly in an accident, and Kate decides she and her children have no choice but to move in with her parents.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781588382900
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Times are hard in Depression-era Georgia mountain country. Even so, fourteen-year-old Halley Owenby, her younger brother, Robbie, and their parents, Jim and Kate, manage to get by until Jim dies suddenly in an accident, and Kate decides she and her children have no choice but to move in with her parents. Like her father, Halley has never cared for her grandparents. Her grandfather Franklin is a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist preacher who runs a strict and joyless household. A miserly tyrant, he claims any money the women in his household earn. Even their mail he considers his to read first. Waiting for the Rapture, when Jesus will return, may suit her grandparents and many others of the same faith, but Halley wants more. She yearns for some control of her own life. She longs for an education, which she firmly believes would eventually allow choices. Little does she suspect that such dreams might actually come true.


Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Gr 7 Up-As this historical novel opens, the title character, a 14-year-old girl living in the mountains of Georgia, is recording her father's recent death in the family bible. After this sad start, things only get harder for Halley, her younger brother, and their mother Kate. They move in with Kate's parents: a cruel preacher, his put-upon wife, and their youngest son. Kate takes a dangerous job at the local mill, while every action Halley tries to improve their lot-taking on sewing jobs to raise money to buy a gravestone for her father, trying to get accepted to a boarding school for farmers' children-is thwarted by her vicious grandfather. He steals her savings, whips her brother, intercepts her mail, and tries to stop his children from marrying the people they love. Gibbons perfectly captures the cadences of Georgia hill country speech; it is rhythmic and lovely, even when the characters are speaking of hard, rough things. The narrative is peppered with bits of true history-there is a woman photographer based on Dorothea Lange, an African American family making their living as potters, and Halley applies to attend Berry College, a real school, started in 1902. Although somewhat predictable, the plot is compelling as the author adeptly covers loss, coming of age, and small-town attitudes and values without sugarcoating. Gibbons expertly depicts the complexity in "simple" mountain life. Just as Janet Taylor Lisle's Black Duck (Philomel, 2006) showed an unusual side of Prohibition, this work gives a peek at an unusual side of the Great Depression. With shades of Richard Peck in this novel's DNA, Gibbons's tale features a strong and unique voice.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.