Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Off To War by Deborah Ellis

Off to War: Voices of Military ChildrenDeborah Ellis interviewed the children of service members from the United States and Canada on their thoughts and opinions. We learn of their feelings about having a parent serve in a war, their life at home and how it differs from the average child, whether they plan to join the military, and what are their goals in life. Interviewed are children of varying ages, backgrounds, and situations, so the reader gets a wide spectrum of views.

I enjoyed reading the first four interviews or so, but then felt like I was hearing the same thing over and over. I wanted to notice what made this child or family different from the previous one and I didn't see much. I can see some readers becoming bored and not finishing the book, but I hope they will at least skip to the last two stories. One was an interview with a child whose father died in Iraq and another whose father is a conscientious objector to the war. To me, these last ones were the most fascinating, and maybe that's because they stood out from the others.

I did sense an underlying anti-war message from the author, but one I think she tried to minimize. I got the feeling that she tried to be as neutral as possible about the issue. I'm glad I read the book, for it does give one much to ponder. I just wish I could have been more engaged with the stories of these children. I give it a 'C.'

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