Book Review: Being Polite to Hitler

Fifty-four year old Agnes Scofield comes to the realization that she is tired of being a grade school teacher, tired of always doing what is expected of her, tired of rooting for a losing baseball team and just plain tired. Washburn, Ohio is so much the picture perfect ideal of small town America that it has attracted well-intended but rather obtuse documentary filmmaker Julian Brightman to feature it in his latest work. However, beneath that seemingly serene exterior lays a community attempting to come to terms with polio, the increasing fears perpetrated by the emerging nuclear age, a space race and the civil rights movement. Throughout it all, Agnes must reexamine her goals, family ties and loves in order to come to a decision about what direction the rest of her life should take.

Warm, engaging and thoughtfully told, this is a charming snapshot not only of a small town family but also of the country struggling to find its place within changing times. Finely nuanced, Dew takes readers back to a slower, simpler time yet even then, growing up and making difficult choices was no easier then it is now.

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