Ever since the untimely death of her mother, 14 year-old Joan Skraggs has been desperately unhappy. Under the thumb of her cruel father and three sullen brothers, Joan lives like a servant on their farm just outside of Lancaster, forever cooking, cleaning, and attending to the many demands of the home. But she has little freedom, and less support from her family for her love of reading and blossoming interest in education. But when her father tells Joan she can't go to school anymore, it sets off a journey that will see her become first a runaway, then a hired girl on $6 a week, and finally her very own young woman. Set in America during the optimistic years before the First World War, and told through a series of journal entries, THE HIRED GIRL is the story of a young girl in search of Real Life and True Love. It takes in feminism and housework; money, religion, and social class; literature and education, romanticism and realism, first love and sexual yearnings, cats, hats, and bunions. And it's a comedy.
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by Laura Amy Schlitz
by Joan M. Wolf
"Rachel Botchan's unadorned expression aptly represents the youthful journaling of Joan, a 14-year-old girl in 1911 whose life on her family's farm consists of rough, monotonous caring for three unappreciative brothers and a father who has made her leave school. Botchan's expressions of the father's harsh, crass comments contrast with Joan's passion for learning and reading, and her desire to become more "refined." Botchan's guileless tone takes on new meaning when Joan runs away, pretends to be 18, and becomes a hired girl in the Rosenbachs' wealthy, intellectual Jewish home. Her portrayal of Joan's na•vetŽ, artless attempts at cover-up, and desire to please effectively contrasts with her depictions of the cultured Rosenbachs. Joan's romanticism, overactive imagination, and impulsivity are amusing and endearing. S.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine"
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