Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fly Boy by Eric Walter

Just before Christmas, Ann from Titles called to tell me about the newest Eric Walters book Fly Boy. Ann knows that I will buy every new book Walters writes ecause I'm a huge fan of his work. I was a bit disappointed when I saw the cover though because it wasn't really a topic of interest to me. I knew however that many of the boys in my class would want to read it. I started it last night, and in typical Walters fashion, I was hooked right away- even though I didn't think I would be.

The setting is 1943 in Toronto and 17 year old Robbie McWilliams is like most boys of the time, he can't wait to head off to fight the Nazi's in Europe. The only problem is you have to be 18 to enlist. Robbie has figured out how to fool the officers by using a different birth certificate and with the help of his friend back at boarding school, Robbie enlists in pilot training. What follows is a glimpse into life for these boys and men who train in Canada before being shipped overseas. The change Robbie goes through from being a young school boy to a man fighting for his country is very fascinating to watch. Walters doesn't hold back from showing the reality of war, although he does it in such a way that will make sense to kids.

As I was reading this book I kept thinking of my grandfather who enlisted when he was 18. I imagine many of the experiences Robbie had were similar to what my grandfather went through. I've never really bought into the romantic side of war and I've never understood why young men would want to head off to war. After reading this book though, I have a better grasp of the time period and the feeling that these men were fighting for a real cause and that they believed in risking their lives for the safety of their family back home. Eric Walters is always able to examine an issue from different perspectives and to change my thinking. I can't wait to see what he writes next!

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