Friday, August 5, 2016

August's Book of the Month--The War That Saved My Life

August’s Book of the Month is the impeccably crafted, heartwarming, and life-affirming THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Ten-year-old Ada’s mam keeps her locked up in their squalid one room apartment because Ada is “a cripple.” (She has a clubfoot.) When her brother, Jamie, gets older and more independent, Ada resolves to fight for a better life for herself by learning to walk. She does, and just in time, too. London’s children are being evacuated to the countryside and Ada and Jamie sneak off to join them. A Kent woman, Susan Smith, reluctantly takes them in, but it’s not an easy transition. Susan is kind, but building a family takes time.

Because Ada has never been educated or allowed outside, it’s heartbreaking to see how little she knows of the world. She’s strong and determined, however, and she teaches herself all kinds of things, beginning with how to ride the pony in the meadow outside her new home. Slowly, slowly, Ada grows healthy, learns to read and write, and finds friends in the village. But the emotional abuse inflicted on her all those years by her mam has taken its toll, and trusting that this new life won’t disappear is almost impossible.

From the very first sentence, first paragraph, first page, I was completely hooked. This is one of those stories that became so real, I forgot where I was while reading it. On that very first page (one of the best first pages I have ever read) we have a complete set-up. Especially clear is Ada’s relationship with her Mam, which looms over the entire novel. Ada’s character shines through, and we are introduced to most of the people who figure prominently in the story. It’s so well done!

If you want an equally gut-wrenching, equally wonderful story about an abused London boy who is evacuated to the country during WWII, please seek out Goodnight, Mr. Tom, by Michelle Magorian, one of my all-time favorites.

Have you read THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE? What do you think?


No comments:

Post a Comment