Study Guide

A Long Way from Chicago Tone

By Richard Peck

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Charmingly Country

Considering that A Long Way from Chicago is set in the midst of the Great Depression, it would be easy for the book to take on a super serious, depressing—no pun intended—tone.

But instead, the book is told from the point of view of kids, with little stories about the strange and oftentimes humorous things that Joey remembers from his time with his grandmother.

For example, the scene when Grandma Dowdel demands a free plane ride is pretty funny and told in a down-to-earth, country tone:

It took three big members of the American Legion and Barnie Buchanan to get Grandma into the front cockpit of the plane. Eventually, the sight drew a crowd. The Legionnaires would invite Grandma to step into their clasped hands, then boost her up. That didn't work. (4.108)

The tone completely matches the quirky small-town setting and the kind of rough-around-the-edges charm that Grandma Dowdel exudes.

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