Monday, October 19, 2015

Diary of a Waitress: A Review and ARC Giveaway

Diary of a Waitress: The Not-So-Glamarous Life of a Harvey Girl (Calkins Creek, 2015) by Carolyn Meyer chronicles six months in 17-year-old Kitty Evans' life. The time is 1926; a time when young women were expected to marry and have children with few aspirations beyond that. Kitty, on the other hand, plans to go to college to become a journalist.  

The books opens with Kitty's father's announcement that due to problems with his business, he doesn't have the money to send her to college. Left with this devastating news, Kitty impulsively decides to apply for a job as a Harvey Girl waitress. She is accepted and her life, working long days in the Harvey House Hotels and Restaurants, begins. 

Although the book warmly shows Kitty discovering her own pathway to becoming a published writer, her colorful friend Cordelia, often steals the limelight. Cordelia is a flapper, a musician, and a young woman with enough spunk to return an expensive engagement ring from a man she doesn't love. 

The "railroaders" young men who work at the roundhouse, and local ranchers, provide romantic interests for Kitty and her fellow waitresses, Emmy and Maggie. In the final chapter, when the women come together for a reunion twenty-five years later, the reader finds out the pathways that each women took. 

I enjoyed the way Meyer brought the story to a close:
"What about you, Kitty?" Cordelia asked. "Are you still writing in your journal?"
I said I was.
"You should write a book about the Harvey Girls," she said.
"A novel of romance and adventure," Emmy suggested.
"A book about us," Maggie insisted.
I promised them I'd think about it.

One of the New Mexico Harvey House Hotels 
Written in a diary format with black and white photographs of the real Harvey House Hotels sprinkled in, this novel will appeal to middle grade girls who enjoyed the American Girl series when they were younger. The hotels were built along the railroad lines and the book includes fun scenes where the waitresses take the trains and visit other hotels. With it's emphasis on historical accuracy, readers will be immersed in a time when waitresses were glad for a dime tip, and had to ask permission from their employer to go out on a date.  

I am giving away my gently read ARC. If you would like to win it for yourself or the middle grade girl in your life, please leave me a comment by 6 PM on October 22. If you are new to this blog, make sure you leave your email address too. 


Elena said...

An important story, sound like a good one.

Linda Phillips said...

This sounds like a fun read. I gave my Anna an American Girl doll last year, so I appreciate the connection.

Sandra Warren said...

This sounds like an interesting read and one that my granddaughters would like.

Thanks for the review and the giveaway.

Barbara Younger said...

I've always been intrigued with Harvey girls. And wow, talk about a wonderful cover!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks LInda, Sandra, Barbara, and Elena. You're all in!

Rosi said...

I love this period in history. Your review makes this book very enticing. I think I'd really enjoy it. Thanks for the review and the chance to win.

Linda A. said...

Another great review. You should get paid for these!

This topic and time period appeals to me and I hope many middle grade students will find it interesting too.

No need to include my name in the drawing. I appreciate my recent giveaway win. Thanks!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

I'd love to win! American social history and strong female protagonists are my cup of tea.(Linda is right--you do a great job on your reviews!)

Thanks for sharing, Carol!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for the comments, LInda, Rosi and Clara. I take book reviews seriously! I've added Rosi and Clara to the giveaway list.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Thank you for always finding wonderful stories to share with us and for sharing your writing techniques, too. You're a jewel.


Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, JOan. Your name is in the hat!

Anonymous said...

Carol, I am going to add this book to my to read list. I had never heard of Harvey House and am interested to read more about it. Thanks for your review .

Carol Baldwin said...

You're welcome, Kathleen. Hope you enjoy the book!

LIGHT COMES TO SHADOW MOUNTAIN A Guest Blogger Review by Mara Scudder

  I've been on the "other side of the pond" for the last two weeks and just returned home. I look forward to sharing a few of ...