I’ve just finished reading The children who lived in a barn by Eleanor Graham. What a book. The plot is very much like that of the more familiar Boxcar Children, which I remember loving as a kid. How romantic to go off and live in a railway car. How wonderful to still be a kid, and to be completely in charge of yourself. Amazing. I still remember the cracked pink cup one of them found at the dump to use.
Anyway, this is as romantic — they end up in a barn which they clean up — but the details are much more satisfying. People are good and bad — the insensitive teacher who arranges for the whole class to knit socks for the poor Dunnits is also really helpful in helping them to make and learn how to use a haybox, which seems to be a primitive form of crockpot. Susan (it’s always Susan) loses her temper and tends to take offense, but then she’s only 13. The missing parents are totally odd. The father is a useless, bad-tempered man with opinions. The mother goes along with his nonsense. Alice, the baby, is often a nuisance. It’s very real, and not at all smarmy.
It’s a very odd book.
I also see that this is totally the sort of book from which I got my ideas about housekeeping — also, my side of the mountain. I like the idea of living off bread and jam off cracked plates in a cabin while it rains outside. I can’t explain it, really, but it’s true.
It’s a very good book.