Now an old man, John is haunted by memories of enlisting to fight in World War II, a decision which forced him to face the horrors of war and changed his life forever. Just 17 when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, John Duane wants nothing more than to enlist. Then he falls in love with Ginny Burton, who is against all war. But John would rather die than be judged a coward. Fifty years later, John is haunted by memories of 1942--of his family, of Ginny, and of the nightmare that was World War II. "A poignant love story."
May 25, 2020 Subject:
Thoughtful WW2 Story (romance + homefront issues, mostly)
This short novel portrays an older man, John, looking back on his teenage years, just as America entered into WW2. The book deals with issues not frequently found in books about that time; mainly, the peer pressure that young men felt to join up and do their part against Japan & Germany. Ideas of Wartime Propaganda and of being a Conscientious Objector hold more gravity than the usual fair. Rylant, a sensitive, skilled and fluid writer, gives us a 1940s romance between two very different teens who are trying to figure out the world at a very precarious moment in American History. Perfect for teaching 9th or 10th graders, issues addressed include coming-of-age themes such as drinking, brief sexuality, social pressures, nationalism, women workers, the economics of war, and the realities of wartime violence. In a school setting, you might take 2-3 weeks to read it, depending on supplementary material and research / history opportunities. Really, though, it only takes a couple hours to read at an easy pace. 100 pages