Author Kathryn Lasky
Series: Dear America
Publication Date November 1, 2001
Genre: Young Adult
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At the age of twelve, Minnie Swift is living through one of the toughest times in America's history, The Great Depression. She keeps a detailed diary over the span of one Christmas month. Reflecting the sadness but also the optimism that characterized the time, this is an intimate portrait of a Midwestern family's days and nights, ups and downs, triumphs and losses. It's the story of one family's persevering spirit: The Christmas Spirit.
When I was in elementary school I loved the Dear America series. I mainly read ones that were centered around civil/WWs and as this was one of the happier ones in the series, and I have always preferred dark not-so-happy-ever-after endings, Christmas After All never made it to my bedside table. This installment was a cute Christmas read I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was still in elementary school. It felt like the author was aiming for a Little Women Christmas and didn’t quite succeed. Lady, Clem, Gwen and Minnie our journalist, could be Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy with their young brother Ozzie as Laurie (although without the romance) along with Marmee and Hannah represented. It is not fair to compare any novel to Little Women but it did seem to have undertones, giving up meals for those less fortunate and selling beloved items that were very similar to Jo’s reasoning to cut her hair.
It was a sweet Christmas tale with a visiting relation showing the family holiday spirit and I did like the epilogue where “dreams came true, all the children going to college and Minnie achieving her dream to become a pilot, but overall it Dear America didn’t hold the same thrill as it did when I was ten.