Lehrer, Jim Oh, Johnny.
Random House/Knopf/Anchor/Three Rivers 2009 221p 25.00 978-1-4000-6762-6 hs/adult
Johnny is a young NJ boy who enlists in the Marines and finishes in the Pacific Theater, but his one dream in life is to play baseball and to find the girl in Wichita with whom he had his first sexual experience. This picaresque novel is written in a minimalist, almost easy-reading style, but it offers much food for thought on the themes of war being hell and illusion versus reality. It is a sobering look at one young man's experiences with war and its devastating effects on his life, as well as his helpless clinging to unrealistic dreams and aspirations about his future. It would be an excellent choice for book discussions at the upper high-school level and could be paired with other war stories like A Farewell to Arms, The Red Badge of Courage and Catch 22. C.Kennedy