Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home Older Children and Young Adults: 2009 My Darlin' Clementine / by Kristiana Gregory

My Darlin' Clementine / by Kristiana Gregory


Title: My Darlin' Clementine
Author:   Kristiana Gregory
Publisher:  Holiday House
ISBN:  978-0-8234-2198-5
Year:  2009

Concepts: scarcity, natural resources, jobs, occupations, economics of gender

Review: Clementine Kidd, a sixteen-year-old living in the mining town of Nugget during the height of Idaho Territory's gold rush, had gotten fairly used to the wild and rough lifestyle. Violent crimes, dozens of saloons and gambling houses, vigilante groups rather than deputies to enforce the law, and hazardous traveling paths outside of town had all become routine in Nugget as the local residents sought their fortunes. These circumstances took a more personal turn as Clementine witnessed her father falling prey to alcoholism and gambling, and as she learned of his participation in a brutal vigilante group.

As her father's addictions worsened, Clementine and her mother and sister resorted to selling meals to local miners and hiding money in order to support themselves economically. They each dreamed of a way out, which for Clementine meant studying medicine far away at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. However, her father's growing debts, pressures to get married rather than pursue a career, her mother's strange disappearance, and the need to protect her sister all seemed to make this dream grow ever more distant.

Crucial to the plotline are some important economic issues, especially the rapid growth of a gold-mining town, the struggles of a family to survive when the primary breadwinner is no longer earning money, and the challenges faced by women to pursue nontraditional occupations. My Darlin' Clementine starts from the premise in the western folk ballad "Oh My Darling Clementine" that Clementine, a miner's daughter, tragically fell into the water. From this popular folksong, Kristiana Gregory spins an engrossing tale of adventure, love, hardship, and hope.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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