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Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite
There are several luxuries that we enjoy in the world from fruits, vegetables, electricity, and gas to clothing, but have you ever wondered what goes into making these luxuries available? We take these things for granted while there are those who risk their lives and face several challenges to make this luxury available to us. They Came to the Mine by Linda Stevenski is that type of story. It tells of the families that must do what it takes to survive in a mining town. Everything is primarily owned by the mining company, from the homes the families live in and the water to the general store. How much can a family take and how far will they go to survive? And where do the boundaries end when children, as young as thirteen, are made to work in the mines to pay off the debts of their families?
I found They Came to the Mine a great story, but sad because for hundreds of years coal miners and their families faced death, health issues and loss of limbs to bring us electricity and other necessities that use coal. I always wondered what happens when a miner gets sick? How will his family recover? It reminds me of a story my dad told about sharecropping days which had a similar tone to it. Just as in sharecropping, the families must pay the owners back for these amenities which are deducted from their checks prior to receiving them (if at all), and no check is received until the debts are paid in full. But just like during any time of struggle, this is when a community bond evolves; this is the only way to survive from one day to the next.
During a time of lack and struggle is when people unite, share and become grateful, blessed and enriched because they have their families, friends, a roof over their heads, and food to eat. Unfortunately, coal mining still exists although machines are doing a lot more of the labor, but miners are still needed.