book review

Baker Towers


I took my kids to Mr. Paperback yesterday and picked up a book for myself (yes, another one): Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh. I couldn’t put it down. I love that feeling.

“BAKER TOWERS is an intimate exploration of love and family set in a western Pennsylvania coal town in the years following World War II. Bakerton is a town of company houses and church festivals, union squabbles and firemen’s parades. Its ball club leads the coal company leagues. Its neighborhoods are Little Italy, Swedetown and Polish Hill.

For the five Novak children, the forties are a decade of tragedy,excitement and stunning change. George comes home from the war determined to leave Bakerton behind and finds the task impossible. Dorothy is a fragile beauty hooked on romance. Brilliant Joyce holds the family together, bitterly aware of the life she might have had elsewhere, while her brother Sandy sails through life on looks and charm. At the center of it all is Lucy, the volatile baby, devouring the family’s attention and developing a bottomless appetite for love.

BAKER TOWERS is both a family saga and a love letter to our industrial past, to the men and women known as the Greatest Generation; to the vibrant small-town life of America’s Rust Belt when it was still shiny and new.”


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5 thoughts on “Baker Towers”

  1. Kel—Bakertown is about 7 miles from me. This is MY REGION. This book pretty much sums up my mom and dad going up years.

  2. It’s a great book. Beautifully written.

    I’ve never been in a coal mining town, but now I know what one smells like. Ugh.

  3. growing up we came home on vacation. The hillside across from my grandparents would burn all the time…it would glow at night. The coal waste was just combusting and burning..and it would smell like sulfur. The “crick” besides my grandmother’s house was all encrusted with yellow…sulfur. I can still tell the moment I walk into a place if they have a coal furnace. And of course, the only place that my brother and I found to be the most fun to play in was the coal bin….. This type of coal waste is no more…along with the mines. Today they are reclaiming these waste dumps and burning them in plants that produce electricty and restoring the land.

  4. Oh….I remember Rockland having a certain pungentecy about it too… especially when we were out running the 500 yard run….bleck….

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