Carolyn Reeder Foster's War

ISBN 13: 9780590098564

Foster's War

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While World War II wages on overseas, young Foster Simmons must find a way to make peace at home as the stress of the times is greatly effecting everyone he knows and loves. Reprint.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-7?Foster, 11, isn't sure whether it's the war with Japan he should fear more or the war in his own southern California household. To escape their father's psychological abuse, his older brother Mel has left school and enlisted in the Air Force. The three younger siblings have developed various coping strategies to escape their father's cruel and damaging behavior. The man expects perfection from his children and his wife, who attempts to placate him and be the peacemaker. Against this explosive backdrop, the family learns of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Now they must worry about possible Japanese air raids as well as Mel's safety. Foster finds himself coping with bewildering changes, including the loss of his best friend, a Japanese-American boy relocated to an internment camp. He and an understanding elderly neighbor become friends, and this relationship helps him through some difficult times. The period details are well presented: the importance of the radio, the homefront groups mobilizing the war effort, weekly reports in Life magazine. However, the father is a difficult character to appreciate. Like his children, readers are expected to overcome a thorough dislike of him too quickly. To understand his background does not help to forgive him his treatment of innocents. The long-suffering mother will also be difficult for young readers to accept, but her behavior and attitudes are true to the era. A flawed effort about World War II and the war effort at home.?Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Foster Simmons, the 11-year-old protagonist of this ambitious historical novel, is shocked by America's entry into WWII, but he is used to war at home. While his father stops short of physical abuse, his rages and his impossibly high standards create so much friction that Foster's older brother enlisted even before Pearl Harbor, just to get away from their California home. Reeder (Moonshiner's Son) dexterously splices together Foster's views of the domestic battlefield with his experience of WWII, from his best friend's internment in a camp for Japanese Americans to scrap drives at school. Readers will come away with a clear grasp of the period, especially because Reeder, in describing the prejudice against Japanese Americans, unveils a bit of the dark side of the nation's patriotic fervor. The characterizations, however, are less well balanced. The children, particularly the insightful Foster, are portrayed with considerably more subtlety than the adults (e.g., countering Mr. Simmons's despotism, Mrs. Simmons shows almost saintly patience). When change comes, it is sudden and nearly total, with a tragedy inspiring an almost-overnight transformation of the Simmons into an affectionate unit. Although the tidy wrap-up undercuts the re-creation of authentic and complex family tensions, it will not dim the sharp impression of homefront America nor Foster's fresh observations of it. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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