Reviewed by Guest Contributor, Joyce Sparrow
The Barefoot Mailman, a novel published by Theodore Pratt in 1943, personalizes the U.S. Postal Service mail carriers who walked routes along Florida’s east coast beaches, delivering mail to post offices and general stores from Miami to Palm Beach. It is a fascinating story based on a small piece of Florida history. Set in 1887, Steve Pierton, a twenty-one year old recently appointed barefoot mailman proudly begins his new job. Minor plots include details of the unwritten share and share alike agreement among locals when the bounty from shipwrecks wash up on the beach.
Born in Minnesota, Pratt moved to New York State and then relocated in Florida. Fourteen of his thirty novels are set in Florida.The Barefoot Mailman is the first book in the Florida Trilogy that included The Flame Tree and The Big Bubble. A 50th anniversary edition of the novel is available from Florida Classics Library. The Theodore Pratt Collection is held at Florida Atlantic University Libraries.
There is also another novel, The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman by John Henry Fleming, published in 1996.
Joyce Sparrow writes “Florida Reads” the book review column for the Florida Library Association’s publication, Florida Libraries. She also publishes book reviews in Library Journal. Contact Joyce at ReadFlorida@gmail.com.
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