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Come Again No More    by Jack Todd order for
Come Again No More
by Jack Todd
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The words that are used in the title of Jack Toddís second in his Paint family series ('Hard times, hard times, come again no more') are taken from a Stephen Foster work that to the author epitomizes the hard, hard times of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl.

Jack Todd listened to his fatherís stories about that era and elaborated on them. It's been said by George Santayana that 'Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.' Looks like that is what we're going through now. And Jack Todd has given us a book to help us learn the history of a miserable, sad time in the American West.

Jake McClosky is a small-time prize fighter who has a grudge against the world. Emaline is a motherless girl raising her two brothers. Jake and Emaline marry and buy a farm. Their struggles to make ends meet are outdone by the relentless winds that sweep over the Dust Bowl created by poor farming practices. The plight of the farmers must have been heart-wrenching to see.

After a long estrangement, Emaline and her grandfather Eli Paint reunite to everyone's delight except for Jake. He has a restless nature as well as a brutal temper.

This is a hard book to read. I was born in 1932 and remember my father telling of a bankrupt banker who jumped from the roof of the bank and landed on Dad's car. The distraught man lost his life. We couldn't afford to lose that car, but, of course, we did. As well as our house, a wedding present from my grandfather. But this did not compare to what the farmers in the West went through.

Todd has written a history of what might have been with a certain family. But he has also written the history of that time and it would behoove us all to read and learn from this wonderful novel. I'm glad my parents arenít alive today to relive those times.

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