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Book review: 'The Dirty Days' by Norma Welty

“The Dirty Days: A Young Girl's Journey to and From the Oklahoma Dust Bowl” by Norma Welty is a work of historical fiction based on the author's experiences during the dust bowl days of Oklahoma.
BY BETTY LYTLE, For The Oklahoman Published: March 31, 2013
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“The Dirty Days: A Young Girl's Journey to and From the Oklahoma Dust Bowl” (iUniverse Inc., $15.95) by Norma Welty is a work of historical fiction based on the author's experiences during Oklahoma's Dust Bowl days.

In 1933, Molly Dowden, 7, and her family move from Arkansas to Oklahoma, in search of a better life. They pass through Oklahoma City heading west, and encounter a dust storm. Finding refuge in a dingy cafe filled with strangers, they begin to think life might be harder in Oklahoma than they expected.

They settle in a two-room shack on a large farm, where Molly's father works as a farmhand. In the years that follow, the family endures dust storms, spider bites, strange rashes, bad water and even some deaths. Molly's father eventually is able to buy a farm for the family. Molly goes to school wearing a dress her mother made out of flour sacks printed in colorful patterns. Only a few girls have store-bought clothes; most are dressed like Molly.

I like how the Dust Bowl and the Depression were presented through the eyes of a child who grew up amid it. It seems she and the other children weren't so affected by it. That was just the way it was.

— Betty Lytle


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