Toward the end of the Depression, the Ludaks struggle with jobs, ethnic hostility, and widespread class prejudice in their upstate New York factory hometown of Thompsonville. But life for their daughter Joanna proves wide and adventurous; jubilant, if sometimes terrifying. Her coming-of-age as a Polish Catholic, a blue-collar, scrubbed but culturally hobbled youngster is a riveting fictional odyssey of painful confrontations with both natal and dominant community values. Into this turbulent mix, America’s entrance into World War II brings further lifestyle changes and disruptive values into Thompsonville. The family nexus cannot hold. Uncle Sam and Aunt Albina reach for the prize of the American brass ring. While Joanna’s mother Bertha resonates with their success and strives to emulate their example, Dad Ludak meanders in his noman’s land of bitter unresolved conflicts. Joanna alone promises to approach the self-actualization that has always been her goal.
TRAIN FROM THOMPSONVILLE