Wednesday, March 9, 2016

G700 Book Review of Seeing America by Nancy Crocker

Name of Book: Seeing America

Author: Nancy Crocker

ISBN: 9781605425771

Publisher: Medallion Press

Type of book: 1910, Missouri, road trip, Model T, Kansas, small towns, travel, racism, boxing match, summer, coming-of-age, plans, blindness, Yellowstone Park, dealing with past, parent-child relationships, Colorado, unexpected opportunities, Wyoming, adventures, Utah, Midwest, colorful and quirky characters

Year it was published: 2014


Missouri, 1910. John Hartmann is graduating from high school under the critical eye of his father and has no idea what options lie beyond the family farm and his small town.

When Paul Bricken, nineteen and blind, buys a brand-new Ford Model T and suggests John drive him to Yellowstone National Park, John jumps at the chance.

He’s less enthusiastic about inviting Henry Brotherton, who’s loud, crude, and a bigot—but Henry’s available both as a second driver and a tough guy who might be helpful in a tight spot.

As the three young men set off on their tumultuous journey, America is preparing for the fight of the century between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries—and is headed for its biggest racial upheaval since the Civil War.

With Yellowstone drawing ever closer and tensions rising, Paul, John, and Henry will soon learn there is a great deal they didn’t know about the fledgling American Midwest—or about each other.


The main characters include Paul, John and Henry. Paul is the intelligent yet blind owner of Ford who desires to be seen for more than his blindness and "defects" and he is also more of the peacemaker between Henry and John as well as a voice of reason for when the three of them get into trouble. He also has a big heart and is interested in the boxing match. John is the character that gives the narrative and he seems to be a "mother-hen" type character that is a bit bossy and often is responsible for recalling the small and important details. He is one of the drivers and one that gets the characters out of some troubles. Henry is the tough guy and it seems as if a lot of people gave up on him and have negative impression of him. At beginning Henry is described as a bully and seems to have mentality of following the crowd until he is shown kindness and then begins to change his views. He is protective and clever.


Don't squander learning opportunities and don't give up


The story is in first person narrative from John's point of view and is set chronologically. While there is some focus on character growth, I feel that a lot of focus is on the action as well as the towns that the characters passed, and the car itself also invites a lot of focus. (I seriously had no idea that tire changes were so frequent back then!) In a way as well, the book invites the readers to explore the past/present connection of racism towards African-Americans and other minorities, and also the importance of finding self through a road trip.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author03_Nancy Crocker

Nancy Crocker is a Missouri native who started her career as a singer, having performed alongside Loretta Lynn at age thirteen. Her written work has appeared in the American Heritage Anthology, and she is the author of the picture book Betty Lou Blue, published by Dial. Her first novel, Billie Standish Was Here, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 and was a Booklist Top 10 Novel for Youth, a Kirkus Editor’s Pick for Best Books for Young Adults, a 2009 TAYSHA Reading List selection, and a New York Library’s Book for the Teen Age selection. She now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son.



I have to say that the talking/writing style of John took me a chapter or two to get used to. I don't think I expected that type of vernacular. However, once I got used to the vernacular, I found myself really enjoying the story and traveling through small towns and different states on a Ford  in 1910 with three male characters. The story has its funny moments when things that can go wrong do go wrong, and it also has its serious moments in terms of black vs white races in a fight that should be the fight of the century, or when one of the characters begins to contemplate lessons he is learning in life. Definitely a coming-of-age story with a lot of realizations and goals about what the men want to do with themselves.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 22
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, February 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Friday, February 26
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, February 29
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, March 1
Spotlight at I Heart Reading
Thursday, March 3
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Friday, March 4
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Monday, March 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let them Read Books
Wednesday, March 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, March 10
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Friday, March 11
Review at Book Nerd

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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