Into the Free is about Millie, a young girl living in Mississippi during the depression. She lives with her depressed and mentally unstable mother and has an abusive father who seems to only come home to beat her mother. She spends her young life hiding from her father and picking up the pieces of her broken mother, but she longs to be free...free of fear, free of sadness, free of loneliness. Her only friends are her elderly neighbor, Sloth and a gum tree she names Sweetie. When Sloth dies she feels like she's all alone until she meets a young gypsy boy named River and she finally feels like there's hope. But when the unthinkable happens she if forced to face the world truly alone and she will learn just how strong she is.
Although this book is sad and at times hard to read, it is beautifully written, and I truly enjoyed the story. Millie is such a lovable character. I just wanted to reach into the book and take care of her. She doesn't even realize how brave and strong she really is. Into the Free is an example of a serious coming of age story. Watching Millie come into her own made reading the hard parts worth it. It is a testament to the resilience of children and the human spirit.
I'd recommend this to anyone who likes to read historical fiction, southern fiction, or coming of age stories.