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The Middle of Nowhere

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Unflinching story of a pioneer family in a desolate part of Texas west of the Pecos, particularly the story of Skitchy, bold passionate daughter of the family's second generation. Hers is a story of life and love, identity and survival, during the desperate years when the Great Depression, severe drought and relentless dust storms wracked the land. At the same time it is t Unflinching story of a pioneer family in a desolate part of Texas west of the Pecos, particularly the story of Skitchy, bold passionate daughter of the family's second generation. Hers is a story of life and love, identity and survival, during the desperate years when the Great Depression, severe drought and relentless dust storms wracked the land. At the same time it is the inspiring larger story of the shared experience of the human spirit.


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Unflinching story of a pioneer family in a desolate part of Texas west of the Pecos, particularly the story of Skitchy, bold passionate daughter of the family's second generation. Hers is a story of life and love, identity and survival, during the desperate years when the Great Depression, severe drought and relentless dust storms wracked the land. At the same time it is t Unflinching story of a pioneer family in a desolate part of Texas west of the Pecos, particularly the story of Skitchy, bold passionate daughter of the family's second generation. Hers is a story of life and love, identity and survival, during the desperate years when the Great Depression, severe drought and relentless dust storms wracked the land. At the same time it is the inspiring larger story of the shared experience of the human spirit.

49 review for The Middle of Nowhere

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glen Aaron

    When an author brings you to the feeling of a character in her book without telling you how the character feels; when an author makes you either love or hate the protagonist without telling you to do so; when nature descriptions live by their own vitality, you know that you are reading a novel written by a gifted writer. The Middle of Nowhere by Paula Duncan McDonald, born and raised in Wink, Texas, begins west of the Pecos when Apaches had been cleared of the area and free land was being offered When an author brings you to the feeling of a character in her book without telling you how the character feels; when an author makes you either love or hate the protagonist without telling you to do so; when nature descriptions live by their own vitality, you know that you are reading a novel written by a gifted writer. The Middle of Nowhere by Paula Duncan McDonald, born and raised in Wink, Texas, begins west of the Pecos when Apaches had been cleared of the area and free land was being offered for settlement. It was “the middle of nowhere.” But the story quickly evolves from the settler family to the tale of their daughter, Skitchy, the second generation. It becomes her story of life and love, identity and survival, during the desperate years of the Great Depression in West Texas, when severe drought and relentless dust storms wracked the land. The history of the Pecos, Kermit area, as well as the landscape, are woven into lives filled with authentic details that create a vivid sense of astonishing immediacy. Skitchy’s deeply personal and wrenching story took place then, in that time, but with little effort of focus by the reader, we quickly see it is our time, as well. The book quickly draws West Texans in with shared knowledge as it begins: “There are places on earth where life has to work harder to survive, and only the hardy, the most adaptable and resilient, thrive. The northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert west of the Pecos River was such a place.” It is no wonder that Paula Duncan McDonald can make us feel so intensely as she creates and relates this epic story. She draws her knowledge from being reared on the family’s Wink, Texas, ranch, as well as from solid historical research, as she takes off into “the middle of nowhere.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura Bow

    I definitely recommend this book! I mostly read non-fiction so my expectations weren't really high going in, but after finishing the first couple of chapters I was so connected that I couldn't put it down and finished it in basically one day. Some things about the writing bothered me: some of the descriptions I thought were overused and a little cliche, for example: it seemed like almost every single time there was a tense moment in the conversation, the author would say something like "she saw I definitely recommend this book! I mostly read non-fiction so my expectations weren't really high going in, but after finishing the first couple of chapters I was so connected that I couldn't put it down and finished it in basically one day. Some things about the writing bothered me: some of the descriptions I thought were overused and a little cliche, for example: it seemed like almost every single time there was a tense moment in the conversation, the author would say something like "she saw a shadow cross over his face" which got pretty annoying after a while. However, the story and characters connected with me in such a way that the little things didn't bother me much. I feel like this book definitely captures what it's like to live in West Texas (I grew up there) and what it must have been like for my grandpa growing up on a ranch in Oklahoma during the depression. The story connected with me on such a personal level I even found myself crying in several parts - which rarely happens for me when I'm reading fiction - so that says a lot!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Rotunda

    I’d like to share this reading tip: As you ease your way into THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, do not rush. Savor, instead. Savor the story of Skitchy, her parents, Kate and Ephraim, her short-lived brother Buddy, her sisters, Minnie and Belle, and Belle’s husband, Jackson; and Pink, the man Skitchy couldn’t live without, whom she married and would later divorce. Savor the feel that you, too, live in McAllister, Texas, that you know these people, and the others who drift in and stay, drift in and leave th I’d like to share this reading tip: As you ease your way into THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, do not rush. Savor, instead. Savor the story of Skitchy, her parents, Kate and Ephraim, her short-lived brother Buddy, her sisters, Minnie and Belle, and Belle’s husband, Jackson; and Pink, the man Skitchy couldn’t live without, whom she married and would later divorce. Savor the feel that you, too, live in McAllister, Texas, that you know these people, and the others who drift in and stay, drift in and leave the story. You may even come to feel that you’d recognize them in Jackson’s hotel or Mr. Wilson’s mercantile. You may wish you could get to know them better, chew the fat with some of them over a glass of ice-cold lemonade on a hot Texas day. You may even feel the dust settle over your hair, your clothing, your eyes, your mouth, during the never-ending (or so it seemed) dust storms. Everything about the story is that real. Author McDonald has done a masterful job of researching the history of West Texas life before, during, and after the Depression. There’s more to savor, such as what it was like to be Hutch, a young black boy, and how briefly attending a white school changed his life forever. He and his mother Reba experience hardships like the others, but different ones, as well. Ones like having to endure the cruel, sneaky tricks a few of the townspeople perpetrated on the mother and son because of what, not who, they were. The book is arranged simply, in chapters titled with years commencing with 1921. Chapters are broken into scenes employing the richness of the language pattern spoken in that place and time. THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Awards for 2013. In my opinion, this book clearly should have won top honors in its category for its sensitively written story of people as real as the ones we touch and love, of situations as real as the ones we live.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Dickinson

    Totally different from my usual books,but was very good.Wish sense of family sticking together through hard times today was more like this family from your book. Very touching.Thanks for allowing me this chance to read about life back then.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James

    A very touching story. Beautifully written. I was completely engrossed by the family in this book. Such strength. Won via Goodreads Giveaway.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sshelly

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It moved and I truly enjoyed the characters and of course there is the Texas connection.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

  8. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hartquist

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Roy Wano

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

  12. 4 out of 5

    Taniansan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Virginia St.clair

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Mallory

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steven Mccuan

  16. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Saviano

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andi Fitzgerald

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy Seale

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kayt18

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Helsdon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Winfield

  25. 5 out of 5

    Violet

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Emery

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  31. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  32. 4 out of 5

    Mike Rogers

  33. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

  34. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  35. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Case

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  37. 5 out of 5

    Max

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kim Hathorn

  39. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Widner

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kelli George

  41. 4 out of 5

    Kim McHughes

  42. 4 out of 5

    Joy Adams

  43. 4 out of 5

    Sharalyn Caughel

  44. 4 out of 5

    Erik Little

  45. 5 out of 5

    Frank Martorana

  46. 5 out of 5

    john albarado

  47. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Bannister

  48. 5 out of 5

    Christine Groce

  49. 5 out of 5

    Katheline

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