Books

Despite Depression setting, book shines bright

Despite being set during the Great Depression, “The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom is a delightful read. Some books, set during this era, can lean toward the dark and dreary, this novel shows readers the ingenuity and hope of the era by following a young teen, Aaron Broom, through the streets of Saint Louis as he attempts to prove his father’s innocence.

Despite the odds being against him right from the start of the book, Aaron’s hope rarely waivers. Inspired by his favorite literary detectives, Holmes, Marple and Poirot, he’s determined to prove his father’s innocence as he is relentlessly pursued by the police, social workers and the actual bad guys who desperately hope that Aaron’s “detectifying” doesn’t uncover their dastardly plot.

Aaron’s “detectifying” skills are inspired by great literary detectives, Aaron’s character also appears to be inspired by at least a couple of literary characters as well. Aaron’s cleverness and ability to get out of tight situations seem to be a nod to the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist. Aaron cleverly uses his growing knowledge of life on the street to quickly find safe cover or discover the next clue in proving his father’s innocence. His ability to find the right thing at just the right time seems almost supernatural and adds to the lightness and quick pace of the story.

Aaron’s ability to easily make friends and his eternal optimism may remind some readers of a redheaded orphan standing on a table singing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” to FDR. Suffice it to say, Aaron is a bright light on the dismal depressed streets of Saint Louis and our increasingly dark reality.

Because of the main character’s age, “The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom” could be considered a young adult novel. Readers of all ages will enjoy the historical aspects of the novel. It touches on the tough times showing life on the streets and in Hoovervilles without being overly depressing.

Readers of mystery and historical fiction will love the happenings between the covers of “The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom.” Providing a glimpse of life during the Great Depression in Saint Louis, Aaron’s infectious optimism and dogged determination shine leaving readers with hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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