Review by Becky Laney.
A Year Down Yonder is the sequel to A Long Way From Chicago. However, this is not a novel in stories. Nor is it narrated by Joey Dowdel. No, A Year Down Yonder is the story of Mary Alice, the little sister that is almost-but-not-quite all grown up. The year is 1937. The Depression is making life difficult both in urban and rural areas. It is economic necessity which prompts Mary Alice's parents to send their daughter away. (Joey is sent away also, but not with Mary Alice.) Mary Alice is being sent to live with the vivacious, one-of-a-kind, sometimes embarrassing Grandma Dowdel. How will this "city" girl fit in with these country bumpkins? Will they accept her? welcome her? Not if the Burdicks have their way!
A Year Down Yonder is a treat. It's rich in detail, rich in humor, rich in heart and humanity. The characters, the place all come alive. Richard Peck is a pro when it comes to capturing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the laughable. Mary Alice does have a few adjustments to make, but this book captures her unforgettable journey, her coming-of-age in small town America.
If you haven't read A Long Way From Chicago, this book does stand alone. In case you're wondering. But I would recommend reading both books. Both books are such a joy, a treat, a delight.