‘Until They Bring the Streetcars Back’

By: Leticia Buggs-Sam

‘Until They Bring the Streetcars Back’ serves up a nostalgic journey through the streets of post war, 1949, Saint Paul, those wistful days of sodas, big band music, and burning leaves.

A harmless prank, a chance conversation, and Cal Gant stumbles onto cruelty, incest, and murder when he attempts to save a girl, named Gretchen, from her abusive home.

‘Until They Bring the Streetcars Back’ is about teenagers and how their lives are in and out of school, and what they go through on a daily basis.

Gretchen is one of the characters where she’s so not social with people at school or anywhere, and where she has a very abusive home and a strict dad. Her dad does not let her talk to boys. And when she met Cal, she was afraid that she would get in trouble from her dad.

Gretchen also had a crush on Cal but Cal had a crush on somebody else at the time. Gretchen and Cal talk to each other everyday. At first it was hard because Cal was popular and Gretchen wasn’t. People started to say that Cal and Gretchen were together and they started to make fun of their relationship/friendship. The people in school are like that because they know that Cal can do better and find a better girl, and they just think that Gretchen is weird.

While I was reading this book, I had the following questions:

I thought she was not allowed to talk to boys?
Yes, she’s not allowed to, that’s what made their friendship/relationship so secret from her dad because she was afraid of what her dad would do to her. So, Gretchen and Cal started to make a plan to meet in secret on when to do it, how, and where. And from there, friendship started.

Who was the girl he liked if not Gretchen?
He liked a girl named Lola. In the book you can see that for homecoming he did not take Gretchen out to homecoming but instead he took someone else. And in the begging of the book he claims that he does not like Gretchen, he likes Lola and that’a what he told his friends.

Cal is another character that struggles with things from home and school, his parents fight but they’re still together. Cal is an athlete that plays football and basketball. He was having some difficult times because he got caught up in Gretchen’s problems at home.

Another difficult time is where he tries to get his dad to come to his games. His dad always says “Yes” or “I don’t know” or “Just no, I’m too busy with work”. He never ends up going, and it shows that how much Cal wants to hang out with his dad more and make memories with his him.

And another difficult time is when his mom said stay out of people’a business it’a not your problem and their’s. Well, he had a difficult time with that when he met Gretchen and got sucked into her problems at home.

In the end, it was a good book and I would give it 4/5.

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