THE WAR IN GEORGIA by Jerrie Oughton

THE WAR IN GEORGIA

Age Range: 11 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A dysfunctional family in the neighborhood gives a young orphan new appreciation for her own abbreviated but loving household in this promising but uneven flashback. When the Wallings move across the street from Shanta Cola Morgan's Atlanta home during the last summer of WW II, she makes two quick friends: secretive Denise, nearly her own age, and Earl, a brain-damaged 21-year-old. Having been raised by her frail grandmother and Uncle Louie--who is nearly paralyzed by arthritis--Shanta envies Denise her parents, until she sees how joyless and cruel they are, and begins to suspect that the family is deeply troubled. Her suspicions are confirmed when she peeks into their cellar one night and finds Earl chained to a wall. Denise and Earl may be sketchily drawn, but Shanta and her grandmother are lively, loving spirits, and the quiet heroism with which Louie preserves hope and self-respect as both his body and his marriage disintegrate almost overshadows the main plot. Shanta frames this as a decades-old memory; despite the present- tense narration, the pacing is slow, and the efforts to draw parallels between the battles overseas and those closer to home are strained at best. Readers impressed by Oughton's Music From a Place Called Half Moon (1995) will find some equally vivid characters here, but may be disappointed by the low level of tension and a quick, too-tidy ending. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-395-81568-1
Page count: 142pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1997




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