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LINE BY LINE By Barbara Hacha November 19, 2011

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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      LINE BY LINE is  a very interesting and unusual novel about a female hobo during the great depression. Maddy is at a loss when her school is closed in her senior year. She leaves home after she is abused by her cousin and learns to ride the rails as she seeks not only a meal and safe corner to sleep, but also a place to belong. The book is full of wonderful details about the times and the hobo ways, such as their art. They carved the faces of nickels, from buffalo and Indians, into hikers and derbied profiles to trade and sell, and those pieces are worth a pretty large chunk of change today. The book shows readers how to hop on and off a moving train, explains the hobo system of leaving messages for each other, and exposes that there was an enormous difference between a bum and a hobo. The plot branches out into other concerns of the time, and that is where, to this reader, the plot encountered some bumps. I most enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of the hobos, but our heroine was stationary through a big chunk of the book. Those small  issues  would have been easily resolved by a good agent and a publisher’s editors, but this author didn’t have that luxury. The novel is self-published, and it is  also a finalist in the Best New Fiction category of  USA Book News “Best Books of 2011” Awards. I  did not mention the fact that this book is self- published  to demean it or imply it isn’t as good as one accepted by a major publisher. In today’s world,  luck and connections play a greater part in getting published than talent or art. Many people don’t realize that agents can work with a client on a book for up to a year before getting it in shape to send to a publisher, and then the publisher works on it with them for an additional period of time. By the end, the book can be so massively reworked that it’s only a shadow of the originally submitted work. At that point it’s considered better, but the reading public will not be the ones deciding if it truly is or not.

     LINE BY LINE is memorable and well worth the read. It is easily available and can be found (of course!) on Amazon. If you can’t find it at your local library, make a purchase request. That way you can share the unique experience of this novel with those hungry library patrons who are looking for a good read in today’s sea of the unexceptional and monotonous selections being offered by conventional publishers.

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