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ALMOST FOREVER by Maria Testa Kirkus Star


by Maria Testa

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-1996-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Each of these chapters is a poem, and together they take a six-year-old-girl on a journey from Christmas 1967 when her father first gets his orders for Vietnam, to February of 1969, when he comes home. The poems are in her voice: lyrical, precise, and unsentimental. Her father’s a doctor, and her mother worries that “Bullets and bombs / do not care / that you went / to medical school.” Every day they go to the post office to mail letters to Daddy, and the postal clerk gives them lollipops. “I thought / Mama just might / be in love / with Mr. Roger Mudd” from the way she stares so intently at him every night after supper. They read Daddy’s letters aloud; they go to Daddy’s sister’s wedding; and her brother fears that he will forget the sound of their father’s voice. And then the letters stop coming. The language is gorgeously spare, so true to a small child in her responses to the sound of prayers and the sound of peace chants. Rapt readers don’t need to know anything about Vietnam to understand love, loss, fear, and waiting. A tour de force. (Fiction/Poetry. 8-12)