What are the main themes of the Hazel Whitmore series? Bullying in various forms is one. The big one is learning to cope with some of the curve balls life throws at you.
In “Broken Promises” the curve ball is grief and a life turned on its head. In “Old Promises” the curve balls are moving to an alien culture and loneliness.
Hazel had friends in New York City. She was a good student and respected by her peers.
In Crooked Creek, Missouri, Hazel is a newcomer. Things she took for granted in the city like cell phone service, being close to stores and internet service are gone along with her friends and the respect of her peers. She is an outcast.
Learning to cope with these changes is hard for Hazel. Giving up is easy. Letting others define who she is would be understandable. Except it would rob her of her self respect.
Does she behave like a superhero? No. Such people are not very real or representative of most people. Having backbone and standing up for yourself is something all of us can do even if we sometimes break down and hide. And that is the way learning to cope with these curve balls goes for Hazel.
Hazel faces loneliness and isolation. She goes looking for friends and finds ways other Ozark young people deal with these. These conditions are facts of life in a rural community and have been since pioneer days.
Rural Missouri, especially in the Ozarks with its hills, ravines and hollows, has lots of problems getting cell service and internet service to people. My house is tucked away in a ravine with the nearest service a quarter of a mile away.
Nothing in life is certain except that it changes. Learning to cope with those changes is fundamental.