Monday, March 9, 2015

Stay Where You Are & Then Leave.

Boyne, John.  Stay Where You Are & Then Leave.  Macmillan/Henry Holt  2014  245p  $16.99  ISBN 978-1-62779-031-4  ms  Historical fiction      E-BN

Alfie is only five when his father enlists, and by age nine he secretly takes up working as a shoe-shine boy to help his mother, Margie, make ends meet.  To Margie’s dismay, Alfie’s father enlisted to fight in the war. When Alfie finds out his father is not on a secret mission, but rather in a hospital nearby being treated for “shell shock”, he is determined to bring him home.  Alfie shows courage by doing everything he believes to be right for his family, but he makes many childish mistakes in the process. The novel is a unique historical fiction set during World War I, dealing with the subject matter of PTSD, and it is worthy of inclusion in any middle-school and possibly high-school collection.        

Summary: Alfie’s mother tells him they haven’t heard from his soldier father because he is on a secret mission.  The boy suspects otherwise and discovers his father is in a nearby hospital suffering from PTSD.  Boyne’s characters are well-developed and resilient in the face of adversity during World War I in England.  

World War I, PTSD                                     --Stephanie Pennucci

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