Friends, I have to speak up and oppose this praise for a conchie, even though he is my own blood. I may love Bud Shoemaker, but I don't admire him any longer. How can I if he won't pull his weight in this war? How can you be pacifists with a madman like Hitler ready to rule the world? I want to say to you all, Wake up!Everyone in Sweet Creek knows about Bud Shoemaker. Nothing is secret for long in that small Pennsylvania town. Bud has been asked not to lead his Boy Scout troop anymore. When he drives up at the Texaco station in his old Ford, the help take their time coming out to pump gas. A lot of regular customers aren't buying at his family's department store, either. And a lot of the Shoemakers' friends are no longer that friendly. Jubal Shoemaker, fourteen, finds himself being treated differently too. One day the girl of his dreams, Daria Daniel, tells him that her father "doesn't think it's good for me to be around you people too much." "You mean the Shoemakers? Is that what you mean?" Bud has changed things, Jubal. A lot of people don't like what he's done. It's not just us!" Instead of joining the armed forces with all the other young men in town, Bud Shoemaker chose to be a conscientious objector, abiding by his family's Quaker beliefs. Now Jubal, who has always idolized his brother and wanted to be like him, suddenly wonders if he can be -- if he even wants to be like him -- when Bud's decision seems to be tearing their family apart.
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M.E. Kerr is a winner of the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2000 ALAN award from the National Council of Teachers of English. She lives in East Hampton, New York, and remembers clearly the hometown boy who chose not to fight when all the other young men, including her brother, were marching off to war.
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