This is a bit of an off one, and I will be curious how many of you bother to read it. It’s short and easy, should only take you maybe 3 hours. You probably can’t get it from your library, but you can buy it on kindle or order it. And it’s such an interesting oddity I just want to share it with others.
I read this book when I was maybe 12. I found it randomly on a shelf at my local public library and it exactly fit my interests at the time (I was really into WWII homefront). But it was one of those things where I barely remembered the name of the author let alone the title and I sort of forgot about it. And then years later I was in grad school over winter break and I thought “so long as I am in grad school, I should use the university library to the UTMOST”. So I tracked down the name of the author and then filled out about 30 special request slips and managed to find every book she had ever written. Libraries are awesome.
This author is really interesting. She briefly worked as an actress in summer stock and stuff and then married a career Army officer in the between the wars era. She started out writing children’s books set in army camps, it wasn’t about war and stuff, just this very particular place to grow up where everyone moved every few years and you had random young soldiers around all the time and this sort of town within a town with movies and soda fountains and stuff all on base.
And then WWII started and she included that in her books because it was what was happening in the world. Reading this book in isolation it can feel like maybe it is exploitation of the war setting. But it isn’t, it’s the same stories she had been telling for a decade, it’s just now the rest of the world is suddenly aware of army families and army life in a new way. And the way she softens slightly the reality of army life and war isn’t new either, she writes books for kids/teenagers and although in the real world (seeing as she was an army wife most of her life) she must have been very aware of the reality of things, she doesn’t put in all that stuff that a kid couldn’t handle in her books.
She kept writing into the 60s, having her characters grow up and eventually moving on to following the next generation and so on. It’s interesting! And a really good series to read if you are interested in the history of clothes/houses/food and stuff like that.
So, this book! It’s very pleasant sort of family kids book just with the oddity of the setting being American in the middle of WWII. Large family, hijinks, young romance, older romance, fun stuff. I am really curious to have other people read it and get their reactions to this strange combo of sweet child friendly writing and really tragic if you think about it topics.