Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review - Stay Where You are and Then Leave

Title: Stay Where You are and Then Leave
Author: John Boyne
Genre: Historical Fiction
Similar books: Navigating Early  by Clare Vanderpool
                     Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster boy  by Gary D Schmidt
Quietly thoughtful

 Summary: When Alfie was five, his father went off to fight in World War 1. Now Alfie is nine and his father has stopped even writing to the family. His mother works night and day as a nurse and taking in laundry. Secretly, Alfie does what he can to help out, skipping school several days a week to shine shoes at the train station. Then Alfie finds out that his father is a patient at a hospital for soldiers with shell shock.
My Opinion: I was thrilled to see a book for young readers about World War 1, a part of our history that our schools don't teach much about. Much as he did with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (a book that you definitely should read, if you have not already), Boyne treats the topic of shell shock with sensitivity, while staying realistic. The scenes in the hospital are almost frightening, even for the adult reader. The scenery and situations are deftly described as seen through a child's eyes. Add in the attitudes and atmospheres unique to the early 1900's, and you have a must read book.
Other Information: Stay Where You are and Then Leave releases March 25.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley  

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