Into the Free is the story of Millie Reynolds, a girl growing up in Mississippi during the Depression. It follows her life for seven years, as she deals with an abusive, alcoholic father who regularly beats Millie's mother; a mother who is addicted to morphine and regularly enters what Millie calls a valley, her word for deep depression; and the death of her only friend, an old black man. All Millie can think about is getting away from the horrors of mental, emotional, and physical abuse, even if she has to run away with the gypsies that visit her small town every year.
This is one of the best books I've read this year. The characters are extremely well developed, and are very relatable. The storyline is well researched, and transported me to Depression era Mississippi. It is rich in details and that makes it seem like you are really there, watching the story unfold, instead of just reading a book. As the book explores the taboo subject of abuse, it is described in a way that is real, without being too graphic. Rather than hating Jack Reynolds, it makes you wonder why he is so violent with his wife. As Millie grows up and faces many hard circumstances, she doesn't realize she is developing a strong character that will help her face anything life throws at her without breaking.
I highly recommend this book. It is something you don't want to miss! It isn't suitable for children and young to mid teens due to the family violence and adult situations.