Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spencer's Mountain

If you have seen the movie with Henry Fonda or watched the tv show The Waltons, this book by Earl Hamner, is where it all started. In fact Earl Hamner was involved in all three incarnations. The movie is most like the book, though it changed settings from the Appalachians to Wyoming. The tv show is really its own story drawing inspiration from both the book and Earl Hamner's life. Earl Hamner did the voice over narration of the tv show.

I have to say I did enjoy the book - though each version is enjoyable in different ways. The book is a coming of age story for Clay-boy Spencer. The setting is a mine-owned town called New Dominion at the base of Spencer's Mountain. The Spencer family originally settled and owned most of the land. Out of necessity or lack of interest, the land was slowly sold off to the mining coming. Clay Spencer, Sr. did not sell and had hopes of building a house at the top of the mountain for his family. But the family and most of the town live in various stages of poverty - depending on each pay check to meet the necessities of life.

The Spencer family is determined that each of their children would graduate from high school, a difficult goal considering their poverty. Clay-boy, the oldest child, shows enough promise that his teacher and minister conspire to send him to college on scholarship. Clay-boy and the family face many choices about life and growing up. Can they sacrifice enough to send Clay-boy to school? The book is slow to start but has a warm ending.

Book Rating: 4 stars.

The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.

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