July 21, 2017

Looking Back - Yonnondio: From the Thirties

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Yonnondio: From the Thirties by Tillie Olsen
1980 Virago (first published in 1974)
Finished in March 1997
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Yonnondio follows the heartbreaking path of the Holbrook family in the late 1920s and the Great Depression as they move from the coal mines of Wyoming to a tenant farm in western Nebraska, ending up finally on the kill floors of the slaughterhouses and in the wretched neighborhoods of the poor in Omaha, Nebraska. Mazie, the oldest daughter in the growing family of Jim and Anna Holbrook, tells the story of the family's desire for a better life – Anna's dream that her children be educated and Jim's wish for a life lived out in the open, away from the darkness and danger of the mines. At every turn in their journey, however, their dreams are frustrated, and the family is jeopardized by cruel and indifferent systems.

My Original Notes (1997):

Another very good book, but bleak and depressing. Written very poetically. Reminded me of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Man vs. industrial "monster." De-humanizing. Very harsh.

Set during the Depression.

My Current Thoughts:

I haven't a clue what this book was about, other than what I read of the publisher's blurb. Not exactly memorable.

About the Author:

Tillie Lerner was born on a tenant farm in Nebraska, the second of six children of Samuel and Ida Lerner, Russian Jewish immigrants who left their homeland after their involvement in the failed 1905 revolution. She grew up in Omaha where her father worked as a painter and paperhanger and served as State Secretary in the Nebraska Socialist Party. Tillie was strongly influenced by her parents' revolutionary heritage and by their humanistic and socialist beliefs. From a young age Tillie was a voracious reader, and though she dropped out of high school after the 11th grade ending her "formal" education, in her words, "public libraries were my sustenance and my college." (from the author's website)


  1. It is an alarming feeling when I don't remember a book that I have listed as "read". How does that happen? Did I really read it if I don't remember anything about it?

    1. Deb, it's more bothersome when it was only a couple of years ago. I don't feel too badly about this one since it's been 20 years!


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