My fantastic husband spent about four hours last night working on this blog, giving it an extra column and putting in a pretty background...then formatting everything to fit, etc. It's still a work in progress...all my links aren't up (that's the apology part), but the posts are there and that's the important part. Just deal with it for another day or so and it should be the way I want it! A huge thank you and a smooch to Aaron and a big hug and a thank to Becky for sending me the links she used to make her blog so pretty!
On to the review...
First, let me tell you one of my biggest irritations in the book world. When I hear about a book that sounds fabulous, but can't get an ARC, that's ok...a little annoying, but hey, publishers don't HAVE to send me free books right? So I patiently wait for the single library around here to get a copy, but we're so backed up, we get new books 6 months after they have come out, if at all. So that's out. I can't ILL it because they don't allow the ILLs if the books have been published within the last 6 months. Too new. So my only option is to buy. Can't always do that, the budget would be broken and the husband would divorce me. So what happens? I end up having to wait forever to read a book that all of you have been raving about for so long! Urgh! Which leads me to the latest book I've had to wait forever for: Shooting the Moon. And yes, it was worth the wait.
Frances O'Roark Dowell has made the simplest novel into a masterpiece. Beautiful characters with such real emotions are somewhat hard to come by, but our main character definitely is one of the more realisitic, pure characters I've read. Short, sweet, and memorable, I really felt this one was very well written.
Jamie Dexter is an Army brat and a proud one at that. She is filled with Army pride, instilled in her by her father, a Colonel. When her brother decides to enlist, her father is surprisingly against it, wanting him to go to college before heading off to Vietnam. Jamie on the other hand, is all for her brother going to fight! She feels it is a man's duty to fight for his country and if girls could go...especially 12 year old girls, Jamie would be the first to sign up!
When Vietnam is exactly where her brother gets sent, Jamie is all excited to get letters about real war. When her parents get all the letters and she only gets rolls of film her brother wants to develop, at first Jamie is incredibly disappointed, wanting only details on what combat is really like. Once she starts developing the film however, she learns a lot of life lessons...about war, about love, about family. And when her brother goes missing, Jamie isn't so sure that going to war is really an important thing at all.
The ending of Shooting the Moon will stick with you for quite some time. I was really impressed with Jamie's innocence, yet she was mature in the same respect. Proud of her family for being in the Army, mature about what being in the Army means, yet innocent about losing family for a war.
This is an excellent middle grade novel. Could be an awesome choice for a class discussion in social studies.
If you're interested in learning more, click the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Shooting the Moon
Frances O'Roark Dowell