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Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles
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Stormy Weather (edition 2007)

by Paulette Jiles

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246746,727 (3.5)5
Member:suztales
Title:Stormy Weather
Authors:Paulette Jiles
Info:William Morrow & Co, Inc. (2007), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Great Depression, the 30s dust storms, resilient women, horse racing

Work details

Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles

  1. 00
    Plain Language: A Novel by Barbara Wright (amelielyle)
    amelielyle: Each book narrates the story of families struggling against the suffocating grip of the Dust Bowl era in the West and Southwest. Very descriptive sense of place and beautifully developed characters about whom the reader continues to ponder long after the last page is read.… (more)
  2. 01
    The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (amelielyle)
    amelielyle: Both novels concern independent young women who have rapport with horses--there is a secondary romantic theme to both stories.
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
As usual Jiles gives us an easy to swallow history lesson, this time with a strong resilient family of women at its center. Our heroine is Jeanine, one of three sisters, and the favorite of their father Jack, a gambler, lover of horses, and chaser of the Texas oil fields during the dark years of the Depression. Jack Stoddard's wife Elizabeth is forced to provide for her family in one shack after another as they move from town to town. Gradually, hopes for anything better dwindle to nothing, and Jack dies as a result of his own folly. The women head back to Elizabeth's family's abandoned farm where they set out to repair the house and make it livable. Jeanine's goal is to restore the farm as well, but this becomes complicated by her on-again, off-again love affair with Ross Everett, a well-to-do gambler and horse owner she'd met as a child when she followed her father around to the bars and horse races. The characters of the Stoddard women are all different; their interactions with each other are some of the best parts of the story. The descriptions of life in the terrible times of the American drought and the dust bowl, the Texas oil fields, and the world of horse racing in those days are well done. Jiles always provides a romance with a touch of the bittersweet. I would recommend this book, although it is not the author's best. ( )
  suztales | Dec 30, 2012 |
OK, it sounds like a bumper sticker platitude. But: I {heart} Paulette Jiles. This is the third of her books that I’ve picked up, and none have disappointed. She peoples interesting stories into the midst of historical events; the reader gets a fascinating history lesson for mind and heart. Although not my favorite of hers, this is still a great story.

Stormy Weather (cue the song) takes us across the state of Texas during the dust bowl crisis of the 1930s. We learn a lot about oil drilling, match racing and farming and ranching. Perhaps this wasn’t my favorite Jiles because of the topics; I’m not into horses and the oil business makes my eyes glaze over.

Some of her descriptions had me saying, ‘yep, been there’. Having driven the roads between relatives in Oklahoma for years, I’ve watched “The horsehead pumpjacks {working} away untended, nodding and nodding, as if perpetually agreeing with everything…” And at Grandma’s house, “How many times had they hung sheets to sit beside the stove, doubled up naked in a number three washtub…?” (For more of her writing, see the CK.) But, it’s her descriptions of what people did to cope with their situations that make this book.

“Whatever kind of life they had been able to cobble together despite the Depression and the oil fields and their father’s love of good times and gambling was collapsing all around them. . . . They tried to piece their lives together the way people draw maps of remembered places; they get things wrong and out of proportion, they erase and redraw again.”

The family at the center of this story: Jack Stoddard, a father who loves his family but is too fond of a good time, whose pockets empty faster than they fill. Chasing jobs all across Texas, following new oil business; because he was good with horses, he could haul supplies. Dragging his family from shed to tent to shared rickety old houses. Elizabeth Tolliver Stoddard, a mother who tries to make a home with very little to work with. And their girls: Mayme, her heart on her sleeve, but a loyal and eager to help sister, 15; Jeanine, “Daddy’s girl” and the practical one, 13; and Bea, the imaginative “bookish” sister, 6 at the beginning of the story. Each (and everyone else in the story) fully realized; very good characterization.

As always with Paulette Jiles: Highly recommended. ( )
  countrylife | Apr 20, 2010 |
Jeanine's childhood is spent moving from one oil strike to the next along with her mother and two sisters by a father who's work involves moving pipeline, but his constantly changing addictions keep them dirt poor. Still, she is her father's favorite and because she is his confidant, she learns to be more at home on the race track or wherever the men gather to talk shop than with other women. When her father dies, the family is left with no where to turn but her mother's home place, a farm in north central Texas that has been abandoned and neglected. With the drought and the depression bearing down on them, Jeanine's determination to bring the farm back and keep her father's race horse, Smokey Joe, becomes the glue that holds the family together. ( )
  cataylor | Apr 4, 2009 |
Growing up in East Texas during the depression ( )
  lindahallmann | Nov 19, 2008 |
Liked the book. I kept waiting for something horrible to happen. But it didn't thank goodness. yes bad things happened. Loved the strong women in the book. Book about the depression in Tx. Liked the love story. A big depressing. And the author writes sort of with a flat affect sometimes. ( )
  cindyloumn | Oct 5, 2008 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Mayme and Maxie; who were there when I came into this world and have been there ever since
First words
When her father was young, he was known to be a hand with horses.
Quotations
In 1918, the year Jeanine was born, the oil strikes in north-central Texas, at Ranger and Tarrant and Cisco, were places of astonishing chaos. … A young man named Conrad Hilton borrowed money to buy a hotel in Cisco and packed in cots so tightly you could step from one to another. He said the place was a cross between a flophouse and a gold mine.
She understood that her father slid from addiction to addiction, a shape changer, and nothing would hold him in one place for long, and she knew this with a childlike combination of disillusion and forgiveness.
… brought back memories of the good times of match racing and the awful times of moving and misery, and also the time when he had been the handsome father who had loved her. Her throat hurt it was so tight.
Whatever kind of life they had been able to cobble together despite the Depression and the oil fields and their father’s love of good times and gambling was collapsing all around them.
So they began to make their lives there, throughout the fall and winter of 1937. They tried to piece their lives together the way people draw maps of remembered places; they get things wrong and out of proportion, they erase and redraw again.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060537329, Hardcover)

From Paulette Jiles comes a poignant and unforgettable story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength in a tragic time—and a desperate dream born of an undying faith in the arrival of a better day.

Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks. And in every small town, mother Elizabeth does her level best to make each sparse, temporary house they inhabit a home.

But the fall of 1937 ushers in a year of devastating drought and dust storms, and the family's fortunes sink further when a questionable "accident" leaves Elizabeth and her girls alone to confront the cruelest hardships of these hardest of times. With no choice left to them, they return to the abandoned family farm.

It is Jeanine Stoddard who devotes herself to rebuilding the farm and their lives. But hard work and good intentions won't make ends meet. In desperation, the Stoddard women place their last hopes for salvation in a wildcat oil well and on the back of late patriarch Jack's one true legacy, a dangerous racehorse named Smoky Joe. And Jeanine must decide if she will gamble it all . . . on love.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Four Texas women struggle against nature and opportunists on their Brazos River ranch during the Great Depression.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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