AND IN THE MORNING by John Wilson

AND IN THE MORNING

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Through the diary of young Jim Hay, Wilson offers a soldier’s eye view of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the events leading to it. Jim’s 16th Highland Light Infantry battalion lost 511 of its 750 men, one theater in a war of horrendous carnage—one million casualties by battle’s end—and ten million lives lost in the war overall. As in many war stories, Jim goes off to battle with great optimism, expecting early victory and a quick return to his girlfriend, Anne Cunningham. By mid-story, Jim says, “Still the war goes on,” and later: “Oh, Anne! I long to be somewhere clean, where the air is fresh and horror is only a thing of storybooks.” The diary includes letters, snippets from newspapers, and lines of poetry. The format has possibility but lacks imagination: the newspaper clippings don’t look or feel real, and the storytelling voice is flat, nothing that grabs emotions and involves the reader in the story. Burning lice over candles, descriptions of weather, mentioning books being read, the death of a father and mother, the shooting of a deserter, bloodshed on the battlefield—all are blandly related, with little power or weight. What will hold attention, though, is the hint of a family secret: “Every family has secrets. Ours is no different. One secret concerns the lad who wrote this diary.” Readers who persevere will be rewarded with a satisfactory conclusion in which the diarist’s fate and the family secret are revealed. May be of interest to readers of war novels or anyone wanting to learn more about WWI. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-55337-400-2
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003




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