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The Whispering Road by Livi Michael
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The Whispering Road (edition 2005)

by Livi Michael

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972124,414 (3.81)4
Member:MyBookishWays
Title:The Whispering Road
Authors:Livi Michael
Info:Putnam Juvenile (2005), Hardcover, 272 pages
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The Whispering Road by Livi Michael

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This is a gem of a book! Dickinson like, it deals with abject poverty, work houses for the poor and children whose parents cannot afford to keep them and resort to dropping them off at work houses.

Realistically written without over dramatization, we travel the streets of England during the 1830's when poor were deemed unworthy, stupid, and people to be abused.

Two children, a young boy and his younger sister run away from an abusive situation at a working house. Traveling through the woods they eventually arrive in Manchester, a dirty industrial town.

Longing to find their mother, they met a host of characters, some good/most bad.

Highly recommended!! ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Oct 8, 2012 |
The Whispering Road by Livi Michael - I freely admit that I am a book -judger-by-its-cover kind of reader. Sometimes I get a dud, but most often I get what I got from this book -- a true little gem of a story.We first meet Joe and Annie as they struggle to escape the tortuous servitude they suffer under Old Bert and The Mistress. The children manage to get away and literally bump into Travis, a man of the Road, who saves them from certain death. Travis introduces our two young heroes to life on the Road, teaching them to hear through their feet, find food, and stay safe on the dangerous byways of England in the grip of the Industrial Revolution. Eventually, the pair find their way to a traveling show where Annie's ability to commune with the dead lands her in the spotlight. Joe, jealous of Annie's "talent" and of the attention she gets from the show crowd, hoofs it into Manchester, the blackest of the black industrial towns. There he hooks up with a gang called the Little Angels and begins a life right out of Oliver Twist. After much drama, Joe finds his way back to Annie, who desperately needs him. The two find each other and find a home. Happily. Ever. After.

Despite the tremendous number of plot twists and turns, I completely enjoyed this story. It presents an unusual look at the life of children during the Industrial Revolution, a point in history before the concept of "childhood" was known. The heart-rending choices made by parents who could no longer care for their children are presented in a way that will make any parent cringe. Although there are a few instances where I think the editing could be better -- for instance, I somehow doubt that a 19th century English child would have "freaked out" -- I had a fine time reading this one and would recommend it for ages 10 and up. ( )
  PatriciaUttaro | Oct 5, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142407240, Paperback)

Joe and his little sister Annie escape from a farm where they are treated like slaves to make their way to Manchester in hopes of reuniting with their mother. They get help from a kind stranger and a mysterious dog-woman before finding a place with a traveling fair. Trouble is, Annie fits in with the fair—especially once they learn she can speak to the dead—but Joe doesn’t. He leaves her behind to join a street gang, but living rough is more dangerous than he thought, and he ends up being taken in by a rich man as a social experiment on educating the poor. The food and housing aren’t enough to contain Joe, though, and he flees to the employ of a reformist newspaperman, vowing to find Annie again. In true Victorian fashion, this epic novel is sure to grip readers from the first page.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In Victorian England, poverty-stricken, orphaned siblings Joe and Annie escape from the abusive farmer they work for and try to survive in Manchester, with help from a friendly tramp, a mysterious dog-woman, and a renegade printer who supports the rights of the poor.… (more)

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