FRIENDS AND ENEMIES by LouAnn Gaeddert

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A mild exploration of pacifism, from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy who carries on turbulent friendship with a young Mennonite in WWII-era Kansas. When William moves to Plaintown, he is lonely and unsure of himself until he befriends Jim, a Mennonite. The two become fast friends, but soon the relationship is sorely tested after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when Jim elects not to participate in the war effort. William tries to understand, at first, but soon allies himself with narrow-minded Clive and his buddies, who taunt the Mennonites. William’s father, the earnest local minister, advocates tolerance, patience, and fair-mindedness, but does not always understand William’s predicament. In the final cathartic scene, William joins in a fight that leaves Jim beaten and bloodied, but also helps him. That kind of conflict characterizes this realistic historical novel, whose 1940s Midwestern values may seem oddly outdated to today’s readers. Gaeddert (Hope, 1995, etc.) outlines, however, a classic struggle between right and wrong, and the fashion in which it is played out is timeless. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-82822-5
Page count: 163pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1999