This is an Australian young adult novel that tells the story of the Flute family as they struggle to survive during the Great Depression. As realistic fiction, it focuses on the relationships and interactions among the family as they live their everyday lives, and it is told through the eyes of Harper, the youngest daughter, who is (I believe) nine when the book begins. As is suitable for her age, she is a bit naive and doesn't seem to completely understand all the events that she describes, and I think this helps to take a bit of the edge off of the setting/context of the novel and some of the particular things that happen to Harper, her siblings, and her parents: her father develops a drinking problem, her older brother runs away, her older sister becomes a housekeeper for a sleazy neighbor, and her younger brother, at the start of the novel, digs tunnels under their house (eventually, through the whole town) and goes feral. It ends on a mostly happy note, one that is satisfying and is subtly led up to throughout the novel. Overall, it's a bit of a quirky little book, and because of this I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
Rating: 3.5/5 for being well-written and engaging, but probably not the kind of thing I'm likely to read again any time soon. (I don't tend to gravitate toward realistic fiction.)