Classic Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Uncle John

Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John by Edith Van Dyne

Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Uncle John (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #6)
by Edith Van Dyne (Pseudonym), L. Frank Baum
3 out of 5 stars

Patsy and Beth are on a cross-country automobile drive with their father and uncle John, when they encounter a disabled young girl searching for her distant relatives. They decide to help her, and the group travels across the Southwest, finding adventure on their way to California.

The plot can be a little slow with all the descriptions of travelling, and the scenery, and the mountains and deserts and the plants and wildlife, etc… If you enjoy travelling-style books, then you would like this one. I found it interesting to hear about all the different places they visit, but it definitely slows down the main plot.

There are some exciting scenes in the plot, and they have a couple of crazy adventures. They meet some really weird and wild people along the way. The supporting characters are all so strange and quirky! I thought they were really interesting and funny. I enjoyed the storyline about the remittance men and the story about the disabled girl who they help.

One thing that I did not like about this book was the racist attitude toward Native Americans. I try to look at it in a balanced way as a historical reflection of the culture at the time. There are several comments about Native Americans, and caricatures of Native American characters, and even entire scenes on Native American reservations that are horribly racist. It’s a shame, but I just try to ignore it and enjoy the rest of the book. I try to be happy about how far our society has come so that now those attitudes are not the norm, but it is still sometimes upsetting to read about, especially since I am partly Native American myself.

Overall, this book has a few problems, but I already love Uncle John and the nieces so much that I still enjoyed this book!

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