Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Review: Back to Bataan by Jerome Charyn
About the Book: New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...
Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.
My review: Back to Bataan is the story of an eleven year old boy who has faced so much hardship in his life already at this tender age. His father was killed in the war at Bataan. He desperately wants to enlist and fight like his father. Jack's mother works in a parachute factory to try to pay the bills and take care of Jack. When she finds out he wants to drop out of school and enlist she, as any mother would be, is unsupportive. Jack's "fiance" Coco is also unsupportive. When he writes a composition about his feelings and reads it aloud in class, Coco breaks up with him and starts dating someone else. Jack decides to runaway and joins up with some hobos, including a charasmatic leader who takes Jack into dangerous terroritory. Will Jack be able to correct the error of his ways? Will he be able to win back Coco's love? Read Back to Bataan to find out.
Back to Bataan is a quick read, at only 100 or so pages. It is an interesting read, because it is set in the 40's and Jerome Charyn does an excellent job of pulling you into that time. It seems weird to think about an eleven year old that is already engaged and that wants to drop out of school and enlist. I have an almost eleven year old, and I can't even imagine her shouldering that kind of responsibility. Things were so different back then. Back to Bataan is well written, and enjoyable. It's not your typcial YA, so as long as you go in knowing that, you should enjoy it.
About the author: Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”
New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”
Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.
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eBook ISBN: 9780985792206
Release: July 1, 2012
Kindle buy link - $2.99
Nook buy link - $4.95
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