After starting Strawberry Girl earlier this week, I was able to carve out some evening reading and put a bow on this one. I enjoyed it– it was cheerful and interesting– the novel took me far away from today. In rural Florida, Birdie and her Pa and Ma, other siblings are working hard getting the strawberries growing and getting settled into their new house. After the teacher got beat up and the school closed, the Slater family let their hogs destroy a fence at Birdie’s place. Mr Boyer shoots the hogs and leaves them on the Slater’s doorstep. Mr Slater retaliates by shooting the Boyer’s mule. After that, the Slater’s escalate and try to burn down the Boyer’s house while they are painting it and also noting they replaced the mule. All the while, the wives are quietly talking — trying to reach peace. Mr Slater leaves on a bender for a while, and Mrs Slater invites the Boyer family over for a feast, which goes well, and breaks the tension. Shortly after, Mrs Slater gets sick and Mr Slater is off nowhere to be found. Mrs Boyer steps in with Birdie and takes care of her. When Mr Slater returns he is angry — who is in my kitchen? And when he realizes what has happened, he thanks the Boyer family. In betwixt is a traveling salesman who sold both women Bibles. There is no specific mention beyond the Bible itself, and a few comments about being a good person and such. I’ve noticed this in a few YA novels I’ve read from the 1950s-70s. Mr Slater sobers up and guess what? The Slater family starts selling strawberries. The school is rebuilt and all of Birdie’s hard work affords her an organ at the end that her parents surprise her with. She is surprised at her Ma’s ability to play and they promise that she’ll get lessons, too. The end!