What happens to a young boy of the 1890s when his destitute mother is forced to send him to stay on the farm of his paternal grandparents, from whom they have been estranged? How can he heal the rift in his family?
These are central questions in a work of juvenile fiction, “Adirondack Gold”, written by Persis Granger. The story tells of Hollis Ingraham’s struggle to adjust to life in a small Adirondack Mountain town of Thurman, and of his quest for money so he and his mother can be reunited. While struggling to solve his problems, Hollis stumbles upon the shattered remains of a dream shared by his father and his embittered grandfather – a dream that is to create a yearned-for connection between the boy and his roots and heal his grandfather’s pain.
“Adirondack Gold” not only tells a story, but also depicts farm life in the 19th century Adirondacks, created with information from the historical society archives and stories of local senior citizens. Readers come to understand the many responsibilities that children assumed in that era, the slower pace of life and the way that the whims of changeable mountain weather affected people’s lives in rural regions. They will have a close-up look at making maple syrup.
Many value lessons lie camouflaged among the pages of the novel, such as the value of a strong work ethic, the value of a community pulling together, the importance of strong family bonds and good communication among family members, the importance of assuming responsibility for one’s actions, and the destructive nature of prejudice. Youngsters reading the book will have a springboard to discuss such difficult topics as death, formulating opinions and making decisions in life’s “gray” areas. Written for kids 9-12, it is cherished by many adults who are nostalgic for slower, simpler times.