Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Heart of the Spring by Laura L. Valenti

          OK, so you guys know how I feel about the wonders that are Missouri. This book is definitely one of those reasons. Reading a book detailing this area of Missouri and reading all about Becky and her family, who 90 years ago lived just down the way in the land of trout and bass fishing, was cool. It has just enough romance and heart to make in lovable and just enough plot to make it interesting and compelling, but it's the history that makes this book unforgettable. I love that this story is about that age-old problem of having roots and wings too. Becky is a character that we can all understand and just incase you think she's too girlie, you've got Miz Josie, a woman who takes nothing from no one and is still loved and respected by all. I am so glad that there is a modern author willing to write about the wonders of Missouri and the joys of what it means to be a Missourian bootlegging and all.

Memorable Quote: “The great Bennett Spring, ever true to the beat of life for generations, past and present, continued its languid passage behind them. A sudden breeze swirled green and golden leaves in a tiny whirlwind and scattered them across the sparkling waters in the late afternoon sunlight. The sheltering sycamores stretched their great white arms skyward in an ever-protective arch above the cool blue-green waters. The heart of the spring continued its faithful rhythm as yet another generation prepared to begin its journey in life.”
From the back cover:
Eighteen year old Becky Darling is thrilled with her first job at the Brice Inn in 1924, especially when she learns that Bennett Spring may become Missouri's first state park. It sounds like real progress until she discovers her beloved father is working hard against the idea. Life during that Prohibition summer is further complicated by her older brother's involvement in illegal moonshine, the impending birth of a new brother or sister and the surprise arrival of a state senator and his handsome aide. Becky can't help but wonder if life at Bennett Spring will ever be carefree again?
This book is historical fiction (Valenti did all of her own research by the way) and for young adults, young adults who, nowadays, don't care enough to know anything about the area in which they live.
           I am amazed at how many wonderfully talented writers there are in the state of Missouri and am looking forward to reading this book that Ellen Gray Massey said is about "fishing, moonshining, distrust of outsiders, beauty of nature, importance of family and a romance."

4 Stars   Photobucket
I love this book, but would not give up my first born for should read it though :)

Teacher Advisories
Sex 0/5 
Um, there may be some hand-holding and a very chaste smooch.
Language 0/5 
None. There are some Ozark Hills colloquialisms, but that's about it.
Substance Abuses 1/5
Becky's brother makes and drinks moonshine, she has to take him home one day because he's too drunk to drive. People do not condone this behavior and he does she the error of his ways in the end.
Violence 1/5
There's an explosion in the moonshine mills. There's an intense argument in a bar. Becky's brother is called on by the cops.

Touchy Subjects
There isn't any underage drinking, however, you may have to talk with your students about Moonshining.
Politicans who lie
Becky realizes that sometimes people are fake and say what they want to get elected. She finds out the truth, but you might have to talk to kids about that.

How this book is used in the classroom
1] Independent Read option
2] Websites
Interview with Laura L. Valenti from my other blog The Conscientious Reader

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