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SHOOTING THE MOON by Frances O’Roark Dowell Kirkus Star


by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-2690-0
Publisher: Atheneum

Having been raised in the Gospel According to the Colonel all her life, confirmed Army brat Jamie Dexter (who’ll be 13 in December and therefore knows everything) is mystified when her father—the Colonel—seems less-than-delighted at her brother’s choice to forego college for a tour in Vietnam. TJ does leave, however, and Jamie spends the summer volunteering at Fort Hood’s rec center, playing endless games of gin with Private Hollister, her supervisor, and developing the rolls of film TJ sends her in lieu of real letters. Under the tutelage of Sgt. Byrd, stateside after a stint in Khe Sanh, she learns both how to develop and how to look at the pictures, which give her an intimate and terrifying glimpse into the reality of the war. Dowell works her narrative from both ends, interlacing the lead-up to TJ’s departure into the story of Jamie’s first summer without him, masterfully controlling both pacing and voice. It’s a lovely, slim coming-of-age tale that uses TJ’s pictures of the moon as a gorgeous and understated leitmotif to help guide Jamie’s growth. Ineffably wise and picture-perfect. (Fiction. 10-14)