42 pages 1 hour read

Richard Peck

A Long Way from Chicago

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1998

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapters 3-5Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary: “A One-Woman Crime Wave”

The following year shows signs that the Great Depression has begun in earnest. Instead of the soundless nights at Grandma’s, Joey hears the sheriff’s men patrolling and hurrying along drifters who have made their way to town. Grandma takes the kids on a fishing trip to an overgrown swamp, bringing along a bag of smelly cheese. After rowing out into the water, she hauls up a fish trap that is full with writhing catfish, then replenishes the cheese and drops the trap back into the water. Joey is worried because using fish traps is illegal where his family fishes in Wisconsin, but when he asks Grandma what the fine is in Illinois, she answers, “nothin’ if you don’t get caught” (45). This part of the water belongs to the Rod and Gun Club, and as they pass the club’s building, the sheriff, standing among a group of half-naked drunk men, yells for them to stop in the name of the law.

Grandma ignores them and keeps rowing, bringing them to a dilapidated old house where a woman older than Grandma lives. Before she was married, Grandma lived with the woman and helped her in exchange for food, and now she stops to feed the woman once a week.