Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: The Whistling Season

Author: Ivan Doig
Publisher/Format: Recorded Books, audio 11hrs,51 min, 345 pg equivalent
Characters: Rose Llewellyn, Morrie Morgan, Oliver, Paul, Damon,Toby Milliron
Subject: one room school houses and educational reform
Setting: Marias Coulee Montana
Genre: fiction
Source: public library

In this exceptional fictional memoir, Ivan Doig gives us Paul Milliron, grown and now Superintendent of Montana schools, as he  reviews his growing up in a small town, riding a horse 5 miles to school, living with his father and 3 brothers  after his mother's death.  His nostaligic journey into the past accompanies him as he makes the rounds of small rural communities having been sent to deliver the news that the one-room schools are to be closed and replaced with consolidated ones.  "No child will have to ride further than 1½ hours each way on the bus."

His memories take him back to an exciting teacher, the arrival of Halley's comet, his father's hiring of a housekeeper, school boy fights and pranks, and always enforce his conviction that the education he received was solid, above average, and had stood him--and his state--in good stead.

As he approaches the last school, at the end of his reminicense he says "Even when it stands vacant, the past is never empty."  Doig's writing is replete with pithy statements that say twenty pages worth of thoughts in 20 words.  His characters are deep, thoughtful, and very believable.  In addition, they're enjoyable.  I was encouraged by several of my LT reading friends to try this one. In turn I urge you to look for it.  It is a stunner, and should be required reading for all of us struggling with the issue of small vs big, local vs. consolidated.


  1. Hi Tina! I'm Eva Gallant of and am trying to put together a bloggers' luncheon. I tried to contact you on the email address, but I got a message that it was undeliverable. I wanted to say, I do hope you decide to come and yes, June 4th is a Saturday! Could you be looking at May? the first Sat. in May is the 7th.

    I'd like to keep this luncheon for bloggers only this time, and see how it goes. I have 3 bloggers already who are coming for sure. I do like the gently used book idea, and will include that in my email instructions after May 20th when my list is complete.

    I'm looking forward to meeting you!

  2. My apologies! I was the one looking at a calendar from another glaxy!!! lol

    The post I did is at:

    Eva Gallant


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