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Sold on a Monday

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Reviewed by L. Bennett

Ellis is an underling newspaper reporter with an eye for compelling photographs. In August 1931 he is driving through rural Pennsylvania farm country when he sees a sign that reads "2 children for sale" and a couple of grimy young boys in patched overalls. He snaps the picture and returns to the office to develop his roll of film. Left hanging in the darkroom, the print of the children catches the eye of Lily, the astute secretary to the editor. She delivers the photo without telling Ellis but when the print and negative are destroyed in a pressroom accident, Ellis is dispatched to retake the picture. What he finds on his return to the farm and what he does to please his editor and further his career leaves Ellis troubled. Lily is also disturbed by the thought that a mother would sell her children. Together Ellis and Lily set out to see what became of the children in Ellis's photo retake. Their discoveries reveal the depth of despair brought on by the Great Depression and the levels of corruption that exacerbate the hard times.

Kristina McMorris, author of this novel, was inspired by a real photo published during the Depression that depicted a similar sign and children on the steps of Chicago apartment. She spun that into the theme behind her book and produced a good story with well-formed characters. Rather than relying on settings to carry the weight of the moral issue at the heart of the novel, McMorris presents the emotional turmoil and behind-the-scenes personal struggles of her characters. The result was a well-written book that was hard to put down.

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