The Whistling Season (Fiction: by Ivan Doig) c.2006

Summary: As the United States fights to keep its education system current in the 1950’s, Montana Superintendent of Schools Paul Milliron is faced with closing the states one room schools. As he considers what he must do, Paul thinks back to 1910, and his 7th grade year in a one room school-house. He recalls the housekeeper his struggling farm family brought in, the arrival of Haley’s Comet and the teacher who changed his life.

Review: Doig is known for books that vividly evoke a western setting, and this is no exception. That said, the setting is luminous even by those high standards. The landscape, characters and community portrayed are almost heartbreakingly real.Some of the small mysteries in the plot do feel a bit weak, but the books strengths are more than enough to carry it through.

Read-a-likes: Doig recently released a sequel to The Whistling Season, entitled Work Song. If you enjoyed this book, picking up the next is a no brainer. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa and The Help by Kathryn Stockett are two other recent titles that deal with domestic helpers. Those who enjoy the western setting might try the works of Annie Proulx, or titles such as Hard Winter by Johnny Boggs and The Dinosaur Hunter by Homer Hickam.

Availability: This item is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library as a book. Click here to see if it is on the shelf!

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