|To Chase A Dream is a 416 page novel that deals with the Eason family and their struggle to escape from a life of tenant farming.
The setting for the story is on a farm near Tecumseh in 1946, where the Easons are “croppers,” desperate to be established on their own place so they can afford to send their brilliant 17-year old son, David, to college.
David can see no escape from the fate of being a “cropper” and confides in his high school principal. The principal and his wife are nearing middle–age and are childless. They appeal to the Easons to permit the boy to live with them, because they are in a position to provide him a college education.
Even though they are poor, as were most of the typical cropper families of that era, the Easons are proud –a family– and Papa and Mama will not hear of their son being “adopted out.” Subconsciously they know a sharecropper family of five with two of the children girls, can’t afford to let the only son spend that much time with books when there is “work to be did” in the cotton fields.
The Easons pull up stakes in Tecumseh and move to Erick, Oklahoma, onto another tenant farm. Their problems follow them, and the conflict sets the tone for a story to which every member of your family can relate.
Publisher Bob Evans says, “Many of you will remember a small school in the 1930s or 1940s, to which some of the students came to class in the mornings smelling of wood fires and smoked bacon? They enrolled late because they had to snap cotton until the first snow flew; and they skipped school in the spring when they had to return to the fields. They usually stayed only a year or two in one town. What happened to those people? To Chase A Dream gives some insight into their life and how they looked at the rest of the world. Somehow, sooner or later, they did all escape.”
Mrs. North’s book is “autobiographical fiction” in that much of the Easons‘ way of life is based on the author’s growing up days. Most of the characters are based on members of her own family. The author is a farmer’s–wife–turned–writer who lives on a rural route at Erick. She has skillfully created a story that is a true study of character in the rural family.
It is the type of book to be read both with a smile and an occasional tear – tears of sadness and joy. Most of those who have worked with the manuscript say they are faced with a touch of déjà vu as they relate so easily to the plight of the Eason family.