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A Bend in the Road

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One of the few books published in the 1930s to directly address the conditions of the Great Depression, A Bend in the Road is the coming-of-age tale of a sixteen-year-old girl who runs away from home in mid-1929, finds work to support herself at a printing plant, and experiences the ups and downs of assembly line work and professional life during the ensuing years.


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One of the few books published in the 1930s to directly address the conditions of the Great Depression, A Bend in the Road is the coming-of-age tale of a sixteen-year-old girl who runs away from home in mid-1929, finds work to support herself at a printing plant, and experiences the ups and downs of assembly line work and professional life during the ensuing years.

4 review for A Bend in the Road

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    This is a very charming coming-of-age novel from 1934 about a young woman from a working class family who leaves home and takes up factory work on the eve of the Great Depression. I enjoyed it, both for the unusual leftist point-of-view on the story, and for Martha herself, who is a very interesting character; strong, intelligent, cool-headed in a crisis, but stubborn and resentful when she feels she has been wronged. Raymond pays much attention to concrete details, the physical spaces her chara This is a very charming coming-of-age novel from 1934 about a young woman from a working class family who leaves home and takes up factory work on the eve of the Great Depression. I enjoyed it, both for the unusual leftist point-of-view on the story, and for Martha herself, who is a very interesting character; strong, intelligent, cool-headed in a crisis, but stubborn and resentful when she feels she has been wronged. Raymond pays much attention to concrete details, the physical spaces her characters inhabit, how their bodies react to emotional strain, the different ways people fail and succeed. That last seemed to me to be the most unusual in a novel of this sort; Martha is not perfect, neither are her friends, and she is able to see with a clear view Jane's strengths and weaknesses, and Gerry's, and Rita's, and her own, and some of what Raymond seems to be trying to describe is how women might work and live together in community and shore up one another's weak points. I was quite pleased that Martha struggles with her own flaws, and to accept the flaws of others, but that this is depicted as ordinary, part of the work of becoming an adult.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I quite liked this book. It is dated, sure, but still enjoyable on its own merits once you get past the tendency toward melodrama. There's a sweet little romance and a lot of complicated friendship dynamics. But the coolest thing is the politics -- maybe I'm projecting, but the whole book reads to me like a promotion of socialism... and it was published in 1934. As the Great Depression wears on and Martha gets more and more disillusioned by the conditions she works under at the factory, a "radic I quite liked this book. It is dated, sure, but still enjoyable on its own merits once you get past the tendency toward melodrama. There's a sweet little romance and a lot of complicated friendship dynamics. But the coolest thing is the politics -- maybe I'm projecting, but the whole book reads to me like a promotion of socialism... and it was published in 1934. As the Great Depression wears on and Martha gets more and more disillusioned by the conditions she works under at the factory, a "radical" co-worker character starts voicing ideas about the inherent corruption of capitalism and the need for workers to unite and own their own work, and by the end Martha has subscribed to those ideas. Even better, this seems to have been totally lost on all the critics who reviewed it at the time, who passed it off as just a sweet bit of romantic fluff with a timely problem novel bent, and so this author doesn't even get written up in histories of left-wing children's publishing. I need to learn more!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julie

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