AN APPLE FALLS AND LIGHTNING COMES is set in Oklahoma during the Dirty Thirties. There twelve-year-old Sidney learns to navigate life in a homeless camp, a real-life dystopian world where food is scarce, and homes are constructed of wood scraps, cardboard, and metal signs. In this setting, sickness is prevalent, bullies have no one to stop them, and children steal.
Sidney woke to the rattle of pots and pans and the odor of mule sweat. Faceless Emily dangled an inch from her nose. A speck of green paint that had once been an eye came into focus – the only thing on the doll’s face that had escaped the scouring of dust. “Get her away from me, Ada.” Sidney shoved the doll and her little sister over to their side of the crowded back seat. Ada’s bottom lip jutted forward into a pouty ledge. She kissed the doll on what would have been her mouth if Faceless Emily had a mouth, or a face.
Photo by Dorothea Lange