Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Hired Girl by Laura Schlitz - OPTIONAL

Schlitz, Laura Amy The Hired Girl, 387 pages.  Candlewick, 2015.  $18.  Language: G; Violence: G; Mature Content: PG.

Joan Skraggs, 14, has had enough of her enslavement in her father’s household on their rural farm in 1911.  When she finds a cache of money that is her legacy from her dead mother, she takes the chance to escape to Baltimore, where she is taken in by a Jewish family and hired as their Sabbath Goy (a non-Jewish person who does the work on the Sabboth that Jews are forbidden) and house girl.  She fancies herself in love with one of the sons in the household and is also determined to convert the family to Christianity.  Instead, she keeps making a mess of things and the Rosenbach’s keep forgiving her.

I don’t know how much a big city Baltimore was in 1911, but Joan’s story and her lucky breaks are just too coincidental for me.  While I admire Joan for her courage to leave her terrible family situation, I am unconvinced by the constant breaks the Rosenbach’s give her as she continually messes with their lives. If you need a lot of historical fiction at your school then maybe you should consider this one.

MS, HS - OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library teacher

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