Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Grease Town by Ann Towell
Titus sees Lemuel off and then sneaks into the back of his wagon. He is discovered much later when his brother stops to water the horse. He figures that he has gone too far to go all the way back so they continue to Oil Springs. However, they take along a passenger, John who promises to pay $20 for the trip. Titus knows right away that John is bad news and Lemuel figures it on soon after. They end up leaving him at their last stop. They figure that it isn't that far to walk or hitch a ride with someone else.
When Titus and Lemuel arrive at Oil Springs they get a big welcome with their Uncle Amos. He is surprised to see Titus and scolds him and makes him write a letter to his Aunt Sophie right away.
Oil Springs is a dirty town in a swamp. The well water has to be boiled before you can safely drink it and there is so much oil in the swamp water that it easily catches fire, as Titus witnesses soon after his arrival.
Titus makes friends with a black boy named Moses and they do just about everything together. However, Titus and Moses runs into John frequently. He is racist and makes trouble for them and later, the entire town.
From the book description, I thought that Titus was going to learn about the Underground Railroad from Moses but that is not the case. I expected this book to go into at least some detail about it but it does not. Also, we don't figure out that Titus himself is a white boy until later in the book. I think it was important to know this from the start. Johns, character is very predictable. The read figures out right away that John will be the villain of the story.
I enjoyed the story overall. The characters were memorable and the writing, simple but good. I just think that it could have been so much more.