Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The War That Saved My Life

Finished March 8
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This children's novel tells the story of Ada Smith and her younger brother Jamie. Ada lives in the East End in London with her mother and younger brother. Her mother does not let her out of the apartment, threatening her with the loss of looking out the window for every small infraction. Ada has always looked after Jamie that she can remember, but now he has started school and she resents him getting to go out. She decides to teach herself how to walk, despite her malformed foot, and practices when no one is home, but nothing she can do will please her mother.
When the war starts and Jamie comes home announcing that they are evacuating children to the country, Ada is determined to go. Using all her physical strength, she hobbles and drags herself to the school, and manages to get on a train with Jamie.
They end up living with a sad woman, who at first resents being asked to take them. But Ada is used to looking after herself and Jamie and gradually everyone adjusts to their new environment.
The way that Ada was treated made me angry, and fueled my reading. Ada's story is one of luck and determination, and despite her traumas, she proved a resilient young girl. She is opinionated and observant, and every success increased her confidence.
This is a book that would be good to read with a parent, to promote discussion of some of the difficult situations that arise in the plot.

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