Set in the late 1800’s, Grease Town by Ann Towell is the tale of twelve-year-old Titus Sullivan’s coming of age during troubled times in a rough, oil laden city in Canada.
After both of his parents die, Titus and his older brother Lemuel go to live with their Aunt Sadie and Uncle Robert. Titus feels that Sadie is too hard on him. When Lemuel announces that he wants to live with their Uncle Amos in the Enniskillen swamp and plans to become a teamster, Titus runs away from home, stows away on Lemuel’s wagon and begins his adventures.
Titus is a charming, naïve boy and trouble seems to find him easily. The first child his age that Titus sees when he reaches his destination is also the first black person he has ever laid eyes upon. Titus quickly befriends Moses Croucher and they form a bond that will last a lifetime. Titus learns his most valuable lessons from Moses – both because of his wisdom and because he is black and living in a town that is mixed with people who are both for and against slavery.
In the climax of the story, Titus witnesses the radicals in the town burning the homes and haystacks of the blacks and he is traumatized so badly that he cannot speak. Through the love of his family and the strength of his friend, Moses, Titus finds his voice just in time to testify in court about what happened that day.
I found Grease Town to be a wonderful read. It was quite entertaining and the words just seemed to flow together so well that the pages kept turning and the book ended before I even realized it. The story was well written and descriptive without becoming over-run. It is a book for all ages and I would highly recommend it.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tundra Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.