Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reminiscent of Steinbeck's, Grapes of Wrath

A Review by Diana Hannon Forrester
Guardians and other Angels
Linda Lee Greene

Guardians and Other Angels is a saga of the Gaffin/Greene family set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II.  Author, Linda Lee Greene’s prose has the texture and depth of the times she writes about.  Greene gets inside the heartbreak and humor of the people who grace her pages.  The story is reminiscent of Steinbeck’s, Grapes of Wrath and calls those same times to mind; times when young men considered themselves lucky to secure a job away from home in Oregon or California for the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) or the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and made enough money to send home to feed the family; times when half-grown children were turned out to make their own way in the world and often failed; times when sudden death lurked in the shadows of freight train cars and the dark corners of hobo jungles.

            This was life before we got so smart – before cell phones, television sets and reliable birth control.  It is the story of four generations and how they made a mark on life in Southern Ohio during times nobody thought were good, of how people stuck together and supported one another day after endless day.  Greene gives us the details of how Lena’s hopes to become a carpenter were dashed by her mother’s desire to protect the family name from disgrace.  She gives us animal-killing snow storms and the 1937 Ohio River floods when flood stage reached 70 feet. She gives us dear, sweet Bussy’s cock fights with a rooster named Tarzan, and a hilarious but  ill-fated plan of Uncle Dick’s to touch his teacher, Peggy Sue Heatley’s voluptuous breasts, and so much more.

This story is not lighthearted by any test, but it is one well worth reading as it gives the reader an inside look at what many of our ancestors survived so we might follow them.

Author Greene puts it this way:

“Despite the tragedies, the hardships associated with farm life, and the ravages of the Great Depression, there was an underlying quality of buoyancy to the spirits of those remarkable people. Even though I carry in my cells the unfortunate imprint of my many nights in the rocking chair with my grandmother as she cried for Bussy and Bob and her other departed loved-ones, my cells also carry the much deeper and more influential legacy of the resilience, the optimism, and the gaiety of my ancestors.”


The direct link to Guardians and Other Angels is   

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