Friday, July 8, 2011

The Midnight Train Home - Erika Tamar

This book is more directly related to my theme for the month, even though it's set in 1927, when vaudeville was beginning to get pushed out of popularity by "talking pictures." The book is aimed at young people and was a really fast read. I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the reality of life for some Orphan Train children of that era (another embarrassing relic of the past) and the mixed feelings of the children who were part of that practice. She also did a good job of conveying not only a vaudeville show in general, but life on the road for a middle-ranked vaudeville troupe in that era. Although he didn't live past 1917, to see vaudeville gradually fade away, Nat M. Wills spent a lot of his performing career traveling either with full-on stage productions or in vaudeville, so he would have been familiar with the haphazard accommodations, strange hours, and suspicions of local people who feared "show people" were likely to incite other people to sinful ways.

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