Little Audrey, is Ruth White’s latest novel and most personal work to date. It tells the story of a time in her childhood when she and her family were living in a coal mining camp in southwestern Virginia. Taking real events and imagining them through the eyes of her older sister, White crafts a poignant and charming tale of what it’s like to be poor, hungry, and sometimes happy.
Fierce in its honesty, we see through 11 year old Audrey’s eyes and learn about this harsh world. Struggles with hunger, poverty, the grueling life in the mines, alcoholism, depression, and illness are balanced by moments of family joy, a piece of candy, a movie, good food, and friendship. Never sentimental and candid as only a child’s perspective can be, White crafts characters who are rich in emotion and situations that grab onto the reader from beginning to end. A younger reader will be captivated by a life few today know and will easily relate to Audrey’s thoughts and feelings. As an adult, I was reminded on more than one occasion of Janette Wall’s The Glass Castle, in the portrayals of poverty and alcoholism and in the children’s yearning to “live better than we do.”
- Posted by Cori