Review: The Dust Bowl Orphans
THE DUST BOWL ORPHANS - Suzette D. Harrison
Brenda Larnell (A+)
REVIEW: THE DUST BOWL ORPHANS is a masterpiece of storytelling that chronicles an African American family’s journey of survival. Talented writer, Suzette Harrison, tells this fascinating story through the eyes of two characters who are members of the same family, one from the past, and one from the present. Faith Wilson,1935, and Zoe Edwards, present day, are the main characters who guide us through this “completely heartbreaking and unputdownable historical”. The Oklahoma Dust Bowl of 1935 is the starting point and reminds us that many African Americans fell victim to the horrible dust storms that caused people to flee from that state heading West.

After a mother of all dust storms leaves fifteen-year-old Faith and her baby sister, Hope separated from their father, brother, and mentally scarred mother, Faith and Hope are left to fend for themselves on the road to California as they search for their family. The trials that these two young girls go through seem insurmountable at times. There are highly emotional scenes that draw you in as we follow the two girls on their quest. I love how the author connects the story with the present day through Zoe Edwards’ character. Zoe, an art curator, is also on a quest to discover the identity of the woman in an old photo who looks like her twin. The undeniable link is that her family migrated from Oklahoma during the time of the Dust Bowl years and the Great Depression. While reading about these characters’ experiences, be prepared to cry, to laugh, and to get angry. Their stories are unforgettable, relatable and come together in such a manner that the story will resonate with you for a very long time. The storyline is smooth, seamless and coherent from start to finish. For the romantics in the house, Faith and Zoe certainly have their moments.

You will discover that most of the eclectic robust collection of minor characters from the historical past and the current present day are supportive and add to the intrigue of the story. The Owenslees, Madame, Miss Viv, Shaun, and Noah are just a few of the minor characters who provide some noteworthy and jaw-dropping scenes. Madame gets the “No She Didn’t” Award. You’ll get that when you read the story. The Epilogue is epic!

THE DUST BOWL ORPHANS is an outstanding example of brilliant writing, documented historical research, masterful pacing, and memorable complex characters. I highly recommend this book. It’s a captivating story. As we acknowledge Black History Month, what better way than to purchase a copy of THE DUST BOWL ORPHANS for your reading pleasure.

5th February 2022 |