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Not my favorite in the series. Minnie's father is a wanderer. He constantly wamders in and out of her and her mother's life. This time her mother thinks he's gone for good and hires Minnie out as a maid to a wealthy family moving to California. And then everything goes down hill. It's an OK book but down the rabbit hole, which came out at the same time, was much, much, MUCH better
This is the second book I read in the new, reboot of the Dear America series and I was disappointed. Clearly they changed the series a bit before although there was a plot, the event or time period was what was for most the story, in this on there was more drama added. I didn't like the drama. Minnie ends up a maid for the daughter of a wealthy family after her father loses her family's restaurant, he gambled it away. She arrives in San Francisco mere days before the earthquake and fire. Nearly every person in the book is horrible it feels like it was written this way so that Minnie doesn't come off as horrible when people mistake her for the wealthy daughter she was a servant too. Minnie allows this to continue for some time but your suppose to sympathize with her because the family was horrible. That's a justification for pretending to be someone who actually died in the earthquake? Also, the daughter she was pretending to be wasn't horrible, she was a nice girl. It also comes out that the father in the family had set up Minnie's father to get the restaurant. Again this feels like this is made so you feel sorry for Minnie and her father. Minnie's poor father who had been established in the book as having a gambling problem, have lost money before many times and disappeared, is the victim when someone else worse. The man he went up against was horrible, but he was the one who gambled, he was the one who lost the restaurant and he was the one who abandoned his family after the loss. In the original series, although the girls telling stories had their own story, the historical event was the main story. In Remember's diary the Mayflower and the hardships that followed were the main story it served as the reason for Remember's hardships. In Titanic, there was Margaret's experiences on the Titanic. Not the case in this book Minnie isn't from San Francisco, she has no ties to the city and no interested in being there, so when the earthquake hits, there's no real emotional payoff. It only serves to move Minnie into the lawyer's house to learn more of the plan that her father had been targeted and less about the event itself. It would have been nice if the book about the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire had been about the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.
Use the Dear America books for a book report every year. I think they are wonderful. My students do just a little more research for the period about which they are reading. Great for understanding history.