Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Review: HITCH - Making Good In Hard Times

Hello Everyone,

 Hope you kick-started the weekend with lots of plans, hopes and an awesome spirit. Me too, took a day off to read HITCH a novel about CCC's and their efforts during great depression. It was worth burning the mid-night oil.

  Here is a review of the book:

Author:
Jeanette Ingold is the author of short stories and novels that ask young adult readers to explore lives beyond their own. Her books include Hitch, The Big Burn, The Widow,... You can find her official home page here

Plot:
    The book starts with a good spirited seventeen-year-old (Moss Trawnley) loosing his job during the depression coz his boss wants a relative on the payroll during those hard times. The book starts giving insights into how life was back then, how everyone worked hard to make the ends meet, how many a institutions and farms turned belly side up and how people started looking out for relief work, for odd jobs and for ensuring the ends meet. 
  
    Searching for his dad, Moss Trawnley ends up in jail for tress-passing rail-road property (after eventually meeting with his dad who abandoned them). The magistrate advices Moss to join the CCC and thereby get a job, get some bread for his family and become a responsible adult unlike his own dad.

    After his share of doubts, anger, frustration about depression, about his dad and about the general state of affairs in the country, Moss joins the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and makes friends at the conditioning camp. To his dismay, the Junior leader Compton is a simple ladder-climber and hates Trawnley due to misunderstanding.
    A series of events later, Moss is in a construction crew commanded by Major Garrett. Had it not been liking the Major took for certain characteristics of Moss, Moss would have been out of CCC by now. All the while, Moss, LEM, military staff build a new camp, work extra hard to keep it on schedule through bitter winter months. 


  When camp is complete and filled with 160 odd enrolees, Moss is promoted into Junior Leader due to various traits of leadership he has shown. Mr. Compton (Junior leader at conditioning camp) joined the new camp. When Captain Hakes takes over as CO, the woes of Moss increase ten-fold. Captain Hakes and Compton make the enrolees work extra hard intending to create a great show for their own reasons *read military careers*. 

   Ample good work is done by Moss *though he bears with both Captain and the other Junior Leader* setting aright many a things in the land, building new reservoirs, ponds, planting willows, recreating grazing lands, helping local farmers during winter, helping people try farming in-spite of drought and all, educating the enrolees to help them in their future, training the folks at village at different skills, ...

  Moss is demoted to rank of Enrolee and sent out on weekend. All hell breaks loose at the camp resulting in strike, problems related to faulty supplies, questions on the chain of command and all. The reservoir is about to break and is threatening a flood onto farms and destroy all good work done by CCC's

  Major Garrett takes over and sets everything right with help of Moss and the CCC's. Moss decides to extend his service period *called HITCH* for another six months.



Pros:
   The book takes you back to your childhood *teen-age* where everything is new, you are apprehensive and yet see the widest range of possibility and opportunity. The narration is so good that you wouldn't like to keep the book down until you are done with it.

    Everyone can co-relate to various characters in the book not just Moss Trawnley. Everyone can re-collect the friendships of youth, the toil, the pride they had in their strength / ability, the willingness, the social life of teenager, the distant relationships and all.  

    The book gives you clear idea of how groups work, how men must be commanded to work together, how one can help other, how leaders must take care of people, how leaders themselves require help, how courage and good-heart make you a role-model, how to take pride in work you did, how to look at bigger picture and lot of other simple morals that can change lives.

Cons:
    I got so emotional when the friends were parting after their HITCH in CCC. I think it is not a con but I still felt sad.

Praise For the Book:
  • Hitch received a Christopher Award 
  • Hitch was on the Society of School Librarians' International Best Book Shelf
  • Hitch was on the We the People Bookshelf for the year 2009-2010  
  • National Endowment for the Humanities project done in conjunction with the American Library Association.

Recommended for:
    Everyone in general. Young men and women who want to change their lives, see a better tomorrow and want to accomplish something.

with warm regards
Abhishek Boinapalli

2 comments:

Vinay Sahu said...

Take me back to my teenage??

can the book do it?? Can it remind me of those wonderful days?? or are you holding the book in very high a regard??

Tom The Sailor said...

The CCC??

Never heard of them till now!! Gotta check them out!! Do they exist?? or is it work of fiction???

by the way, your review style is cool!!

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