Michigan In Books reviews The Sideroad kids

The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County by Sharon M. Kennedy

Review by Tom Powers, Michigan In Books

This fine collection of short stories focuses on a group of 6th grade friends in the 1950s living near Brimley, in the U.P. I was a kid in Flint in the 1950s, and if I had read stories like these when a 5th- or 6th-grader I would have been taken aback by the differences in these U.P. kids’ lives and mine. Most of the stories are evocative slice-of-life pieces, some are humorous, and quite a few serious and thought provoking. The stories are honest, believable, sometimes painful, and all capture time, place, and culture with near perfection.  A clutch of well-defined, likeable and interesting 6th-grade characters reappear throughout the stories and bind the book together as a whole.

In one of the stories that moved me the most a 6th grade boy faces life with crossed eyes, an alcoholic mother, and a father who deserted his family. Yet the kid is optimistic and considers himself good looking. In another story I may never forget a girl who wrote a story for English class in which she imagines God as Jackie Gleason who with his fist closed and fury in his face threatens to send Alice to the moon. When Daisy asks if she can read it in class the teacher, without looking at it, throws the story in the waste basket.  It was a stunning realization that one of the most popular comedy shows on TV in the Fifties repeatedly made a joke out of the threat of physical spousal abuse. I can’t stop wondering how women who were being physically abused thought of those scenes and the audience laughter that followed.

If I don’t know how upper elementary children will react to the book, I do know adults will find it find it enjoyable and a fascinating depiction of children facing life in the Fifties.

The SideRoad Kids

SKU 978-1-61599-603-2
$16.95
Tales from Chippewa County
In stock
1
Product Details

The SideRoad Kids follows a group of boys and girls as they enter the sixth grade in a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula during 1957 - 58. This meandering collection of loosely-connected short stories is often humorous, poignant, and sometimes mysterious. Laugh as the kids argue over Halloween treats handed out in Brimley. Recall Dorothy's Hamburgers in Sault Ste. Marie. Follow a Sugar Island snowshoe trail as the kids look for Christmas trees. Wonder what strange blue smoke at Dollar Settlement signifies. Discover the magic hidden in April snowflakes. Although told by the kids, adults will remember their own childhood as they read about Flint, Candy, Squeaky, Katie, and their friends.

"Katie, Blew, Squeaky, and Daisy grew up on farms instead of high rises and used their imagination instead of fancy gadgets to make their own fun. An entertaining read for youngsters. And parents, you might enjoy a nostalgic flashback as well. I know I did." --Allia Zobel-Nolan, author of Cat Confessions

"The stories in The SideRoad Kids are often humorous. However, underlying them is a sensitive awareness that being a kid, rural or urban, then or now, is not easy. This is an enjoyable read that will enlighten today's kids about the past and rekindle memories for older readers." --Jon Stott, author of Paul Bunyan in Michigan

"Sharon's stories capture the essence of childhood and growing up in a small community. The antics of The SideRoad Kids will keep you entertained and take you back to a simpler time." --Renee Glass, Senior Production Artist, Mackinac Journal

"Sharon Kennedy is an amazing writer who draws you into the lives of her characters and keeps everything relatable. She makes you laugh, makes you think, and makes you want to keep reading. The SideRoad Kids is an entertaining book about a group of children growing up in Northern Michigan." --Kortny Hahn, Senior Staff Writer, Cheboygan Daily Tribune

Learn more at www.AuthorSharonKennedy.com

From Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com

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