WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE by Ellen Emerson White

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE

The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty
Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

This ersatz diary, in the Dear America series, belongs to Molly MacKenzie Flaherty, a 15-year-old Boston high-school student during the Vietnam War. Molly’s brother Patrick (The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, p. 744) has volunteered to serve in the Marines and the family finds itself in the center of the morass that marked the war: nightly death totals, growing anti-war feelings, deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the frustrating doublespeak of politicians. Molly’s large Catholic family lives in Brighton, where a number of her male relatives are firefighters. The heroism of the soldiers is juxtaposed with the heroism of her relatives as they fight fires in the city, even a fire started by rioters following the death of Martin Luther King. The four-and-a-half months that Molly chronicles are unbelievably busy ones. Molly attends her first high-school parties, watches the silly sitcoms that blare from all those new color televisions, meets peace protesters in Harvard Square, nurses her father back to health after one more terrible evening of firefighting, reads the surprising book her mother has given her (The Feminine Mystique), finds a volunteer job at the VA hospital working with amputees fresh from Vietnam, waits for news of Patrick following his injury, and eventually helps him return to civilian life. This is more like a vehicle for the author’s research than a diary. Readers of this popular series might not mind the pure volume of historical details, amazing coincidences, and overblown writing style, but they will certainly question the supposed age of the writer. However, very few stories of stateside siblings of soldiers exist and this might inspire some readers to think about life at home during the Vietnam War. A lengthy historical note with photographs follows the fictional diary. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-14889-8
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2002




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