Far Creek Road by Lesley Krueger
Far Creek Road by Lesley Krueger is a very highly recommended domestic drama set in the early 1960's where a young girl faces adult problems. An excellent literary novel!
Mary Alice (Tink) Parker lives in Grouse Valley, a Vancouver suburb. Her father, like many fathers, is a WWII veteran and her mother, like almost all other mothers, is a housewife. Tink is nine (and ten) years-old in the novel and her life full of playing outside, reading comics, and attending school. Tink's brother and sister are much older than her, so she is basically an only child. Her best friend is Norman Horton whose family just moved to the neighborhood. Both of his parents are teachers and the Hortons are different. A working mother is unusual enough, but they are also intellectuals and hold strong left beliefs during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The narrative foreshadows the coming fear surrounding the threat of a nuclear attack but there are also other things going on in the neighborhood that Tink doesn't understand. Krueger establishes the setting and the innocence of the time which contrast sharply with the changes and adult problems that come later in the novel. Tink is a wonderful, unforgettable, fully realized character. Kruger does an excellent job capturing her innocence, as well as her fear and uncertainty of the events around her that she has no control over.
The time period, at least from a child's point-of-view, is carefully crafted and presented in a realistic way. Duck and cover drills were especially terrifying as some locations practiced these well into the late 60's. With Far Creek Road, Krueger has captured a time in history of unrest and fear and the effects this had on a young girl and her friend. The narrative covers more than the political and international atmosphere of the times. It also clearly shows bullying, abuse, infidelity, and the inevitability of some people's unwillingness to think for themselves when it is easier to go along to get along. In some ways Far Creek Road is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of ECW Press via NetGalley.