Monday, January 11, 2010

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell

This short story is about the war in Vietnam- something I'm not sure many kids can relate to today. This book does a great job explaining the changing feelings many American's had for this war.

The story is told through Jamie Dexter, a 12, almost 13 year old Army daughter. Jamie has grown up with her father serving in the army. She has lived all over the world and spent hours playing war games with her brother. When her brother enlists to fight in Vietnam, she couldn't be more proud. She would sign up with him if she was old enough. What Jamie is confused about is her father's reluctance to let him go, her mother's silent acceptance and the strangest thing of all, the pictures her brother sends her from Vietnam.
On one hand, the story is about war and dealing with that, but then there is also Jamie growing up and trying to win her father's approval. For this bit alone, the story is well worth reading. The relationship between Jamie and her father is complex and very typical of a father-daughter relationship. The Colonel is a typical army man, a man who is constantly surrounded by strong male characters. It is easy to see why Jamie feels less valued than her brother and why she works so hard to have a relationship with her dad.

I liked this book, the battle Jamie went through in learning that war isn't all glamor and heroics is a lesson many kids need to face even today.

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