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Jip: His Story
ISBN 0140386742 / 9780140386745 / 0-14-038674-2
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When an aged lunatic named Putnam arrives at a poorhouse farm in rural Vermont in 1855, he is treated as little more than a beast by everyone except the orphan Jip, who himself arrived at the charity orphanage/asylum after being found abandoned by the roadside. Jip and Putnam become friends, then allies of a sort, as Jip struggles to improve his own lot and that of his friend Lucy, the unfortunate daughter of the late town drunk. This historical tale by Katherine Paterson involves its young protagonist in the great 19th century struggle between slave owners and abolitionists while sending him into a test of his own loyalty and courage. Paterson handles weighty issues with grace and verve, and does not shrink from terrible truths in this challenging novel for young readers. [via]