John Dante is so enmeshed in WW II’s patriotic fever that he can hardly wait for his 18th birthday, in 1942, to enlist. Meanwhile, his sister, stricken with empathy and concern, is engaged to two soldiers and pregnant by a third; Dad, a nuclear physicist, is called from Pittsburgh to California for secret research; and John falls sweetly, ardently in love with pretty Ginny, who urges him to become a conscientious objector. To John, her fervent pacifism is incomprehensible; but as he endures active combat, without relief, until 1945, stereotypes give way to the reality of the enemy’s humanity, and Ginny’s ideas become clear. Still, after his long immersion in horror, John never communicates with her again-until a message at the end of this novel, narrated in 1992 when he’s a retired professor in Canada: “I want you to know that I am really alive. And I still love you.” Yet John has not been “alive” as he might have been: a lifelong solitary, he was even driven from his home by the war (“I could not stay in America because America had not suffered”). Rylant depicts-with some irony and much insight and compassion-the tragedy of young men putting aside their true selves and fighting in a war in which they ultimately lose faith.
Archive for the ‘War and peace’ Category
9 year old Bruno lives in Berlin with his parents and 12 year old sister. His world is turned upside down when he is told that the family is moving from his beautiful home, away from his friends, to a strange place he calls “Out-With”, where a very important man called “The Fury” has sent his father to be in charge. Bruno dislikes Out-With and is very lonely, he can see from his bedroom window that there are lots of people living behind a big wire fence beyond his new home, and wonders why he can’t play with the children there.
He sets off exploring one day and encounters a boy sitting just within the wire fence, they strike up a conversation and begin a beautifully naïve and moving friendship that continues until Bruno makes the innocent but heartbreakingly tragic decision to join his friend on the other side of the fence.
Once I escaped from an orphanage to find Mum and Dad.
Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house.
Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh.
My name is Felix.
This is my story.
Everybody deserves to have something good in their life.
At least once.
When Ellie and her friends go camping, they have no idea they’re leaving their old lives behind forever. Despite a less-than-tragic food shortage and a secret crush or two, everything goes as planned. But a week later, they return home to find their houses empty and their pets starving. Something has gone wrong–horribly wrong. Before long, they realize the country has been invaded, and the entire town has been captured–including their families and all their friends.
Ellie and the other survivors face an impossible decision: They can flee for the mountains or surrender. Or they can fight.
Anne Frank, her parents, sister, another family, and an older gentleman were Jews in the Netherlands during the German occupation of World War II. These eight people hid in a secret alcove above a factory. Anne had a friend who listened to all her thoughts during the next two years. “Kitty” was her diary.
The Franks had lived in Germany. As the anti-Semitism sentiment took hold in that country, he and his wife left everything and moved their daughters to the Netherlands. In a few years they were not safe there, either. Finally, after Mr. Frank was called to report to the Germans, they went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe”. The Von Daan family joined them since the two men were business partners, and later, they included a dentist, Mr. Deusel.
Anne’s parents gave her Kitty on her birthday in 1942. Anne started writing in it very quickly, and took Kitty very seriously. They still were out in their home at the time, and the first group of entries deal with Anne’s private thoughts over school and her social life. The boys who were in love with her were discussed and described, as well as her reactions. Soon after her birthday, though, the family went into hiding. They stayed in the “Secret Annexe” over two years before they were found and arrested by the Germans. Of the eight residents, only Mr. Frank survived the concentration camps.