Monday, June 8, 2020

American Adventure #3 The Hills of Home by Margaret Trent

In American Adventure #3, The Hills of Home, the Burkes decide that it is time to leave California and go back home.  They plan to drive to Florida first to check out an orange grove as a possible investment.  Ted stays in California to work at a hotel while the Burkes, Mary, and Bob begin their journey across the southern United States.

I have scanned the text of this public domain book.

Chapters 1-5
Chapters 6-10
Chapters 11-16

On page 34, Mary tells Jane not to use reducing soap because Barbara La Marr died from it.  I immediately looked up both Barbara La Marr and reducing soap.

Barbara La Marr was an actress who died at the age of 29 from complications of tuberculosis.  She may have been a drug and alcohol addict, and she went on crash diets to lose weight.

Several brands of reducing soap existed, including La-Mar reducing soap.  The soap supposedly melted the pounds off.

I find it interesting that the text states that Barbara La Marr died from reducing soap, and an actual brand of reducing soap was La-Mar.  One had nothing to do with the other, even if Barbara La Marr might have used reducing soap during one of her crash diets.  I think that the similarity of the names caused them to be combined by the author in the story.

I love how through a chance meeting with Ted in the first book that the Burkes and Mary become acquainted with Bob.  On page 83, Bob reflects that he "belonged to them now."  It's just neat to see how much the relationship has developed.

Bob and Jane go to see a fortuneteller, where Bob is given a prophecy.  Jane follows the prophecy throughout the book, where it gradually comes true.  This same situation plays out in Trixie Belden #12 The Mystery of the Blinking Eye, although the prophecy in this book does not rhyme like Trixie's prophecy.  An odd coincidence is that this book has a character named Jonesy, and Jonesy was a character in the Trixie Belden series.

The book also has a number of harrowing adventures including two encounters with menacing hobos and a drive through flood waters.  Bob falls down into a huge hollow tree and is trapped there for several days.  He finds something valuable down inside the tree.  Bob is also forced to work on a chain gang as a prisoner.

On page 124, Jane has a sick headache and has to lie down for a few hours.  Mention of sick headaches always catches my attention, since I have had many of them over the years and at inopportune times, like on road trips.

On page 149, Mary tells the Burkes, "I counted eleven hoboes outside Sierra Blanc.  They must be headed for that big Tramp Convention Mr. Murtrie told us about."

The WHAT?  I have never heard of such a thing.  Mary could be making a joke, but she sure doesn't sound like it.  In any case, I found it hilarious.

On pages 218-220 in Chapter 13 (remember that you can read these pages through the third link given above), the author manages to check just about every box for blatant racial stereotyping of African Americans.  Yikes.

A "negro" boy is named Napolean George Washington Jefferson Robert E. Lee Hickabee, and he proudly declares that he knows how to write it.   He speaks in the stereotypical dialect.  Napolean grins constantly and rolls his eyes.  Mrs. Burke asks if he likes watermelon, and he tells her that he likes chicken instead.  Right, just mention those two particular foods and no others.

This is an excellent book.

I felt lost after I finished this books.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the American Adventure series.  This never would have happened if I hadn't seen that listing on eBay.

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