I ordered Autumn when I first heard Mrs. Tubb was coming for a visit. The book tells the story of the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a place almost everyone who lives in this part of the country has been at least once or twice in their life. The story is told through the eyes of an eleven year old girl named, you guessed it, Autumn Winifred Oliver. Her family lives in Cades Cove, Tennessee, a town where things never change. But changes are surely on the way. It seems the town will either be lost to loggers stripping the mountains, or to the "Not So" Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And Autumn and her family find themselves stuck right in the middle. You can read an excerpt here.
I read this book over Fall Break and loved every bit of it. Here's why:
- Some of the messes Autumn gets herself into are so hilarious they literally had me laughing out loud! From riding a coffin down a flooded river to using sticks to prop open the mouths of geese, she definitely does things different!
- The book is loaded with mountain culture, sayings, and superstitions. It reminded me a lot of Appalachia. Some of the stuff I actually had to look up because I had no clue what it meant. Like, did you know you weren't supposed to burn sassafras wood in your house? It's bad luck and means someone is probably going to die. (You better run straight home and throw out all that sassafras, ya hear?) I also had no idea what a dogtrot was. (Check out the picture at the bottom.)
- Parts of the book made me cry. No, not cry. Sob. Openly. But in the good way, you know? I just felt so close to Autumn and her family that when they suffered, I experienced it to. I LOVE books that do that. A mark of a really good writer.
How'd you like to have a dogtrot in the middle of your house?