ANNIE’S WAR by Jacqueline Levering Sullivan


Age Range: 9 - 11
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By 1946, the war is over, but not for Annie Leigh, whose life has been upended: Her father is MIA and her mother cannot cope with being a mother. Annie Leigh lives with her grandmother, with no word coming directly from her mother. This unexplained lapse creates a hole in the plotline. Everyone hides difficult issues from her, so perhaps her mother’s silence is another example, but with family issues unexplained, the first-person narration doesn’t always work. Annie is too clueless to be interesting, and her understanding of life is younger than she is. Additionally, she lacks awareness about race issues, puzzling over the community’s cold shoulder as soon as African-American Gloria Jean is hired as Grandmother’s bookkeeper. The first time Gloria Jean is stalked, harassed and attacked by local KKK wannabes, who are one-sided foils, she courageously puts her body between the marauders and Annie Leigh. When similar incidents occur, though precautions could have easily been taken, the scene is no longer realistic. There are some nice moments where tinges of humor, apt descriptions and character development play vividly. But despite moments of danger in between thoughtful narration, the plot trudges too slowly to maintain interest. This first novel begs a rewrite. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5325-7
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: Eerdmans
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2007