40 pages 1 hour read

Irene Hunt

No Promises In The Wind

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1970

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Character Analysis

Josh Grondowski

The novel’s 15-year-old protagonist, Josh Grondowski, is a musical prodigy who uses his talents to support himself and his brother despite the enormous challenges of the Great Depression. He shows skill in improvisation, both in his music and to fit different situations so that he and his brother can survive on their own in a harsh, economically depressed world. When Josh lands a piano gig at a carnival, he adapts to the exaggerated extravagances of the “ballyhoo” music he must perform:

Now I would have to play the silly fool for hour after hour; my antics were just as important, Pete Harris said, as the loudness and gaiety of the music. I didn’t like it; this silly false routine was not what I had hoped for. But that didn’t matter. It was a job. It meant five beautiful dollars a week (81).

In fact, Josh has a strong work ethic, which is evident from the beginning of the novel when he dutifully gets up before dawn to deliver newspapers to contribute a few cents to his struggling family. When Lonnie, the truck driver who is so helpful to Josh and Joey, buys the boys meals and alters his route to bring Josh and Joey to the carnival, Josh is determined to pay him back.