A Long Way From Chicago
by Richard Peck
- Richard Peck has been writing young adult novels for many years. In 1998 his A Long Way from Chicago received the Newbery Honor Book Award.
- A Long Way from Chicago is a humorous story about Joey and Mary Alice Dowdel's annual summer visits to their gun-toting Grandma Dowdel's home in a sleepy Illinois town between 1929 and 1935, the years of the Great Depression. Daily Life in the 30s
- The book is a coming of age novel. Joey Dowdel grows from a nine-year-old child who is intimidated by Grandma Dowdel to a young man of fifteen who has gained respect and love for his grandmother. As a young child he took Grandma at face value, but as the summers progressed, a more mature Joey grows in his understanding of human nature and insight in respect to Grandma Dowdel and who she really is.
- The themes of truth, justice, and ethics — Grandma Dowdel-style — permeate each chapter. Although Grandma says she does not care about her neighbors, her actions speak differently.
- A Depression-era small town in southern Illinois serves as the setting for A Long Way from Chicago. The effects of the Depression are clearly seen in the frugal ways of the townspeople and in Peck's depiction of a line at the store waiting for the day-old bread to go on sale at half price.
- The Dust Bowl