Gopher Piddington loves the railroad, much to his parents' dismay. In this fast-paced coming of age story, Gopher leaves Santa Fe determined to make his own way in the world. Relying on his wits and his fists, Gopher finds his way through odd jobs and even an accusation of murder on his way to make his dream come true.
The author's research comes through in the details he weaves into this story. His descriptions of cooking are an added bonus that show his culinary background. All in all, this is a pleasant and entertaining read even if you don't like trains. History buffs and railroad enthusiasts will particularly enjoy this story.
Reviewed by: Edward Cox (2014)
Refusing to follow in his father's footsteps, young Gilbert (Gopher) Piddington rebels at every turn only to find himself in hot water. Through his many adventures he carries his father's natural boxing ability and his mother's keep shooting eye, both of which get him into trouble. Gopher's fascination with steam engines is ignited on his tenth birthday when his English grandparents shipped a miniature model of the popular Double Fairlie workhorse locomotive. He learns a real Fairlie steam engine is working somewhere on a Denver & Rio Grande line. At fourteen, Gopher makes plans to run away to Colorado and become a railroad man, much to his parents' dismay.