AND ONE FOR ALL by Theresa Nelson
Kirkus Star


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By the author of Devil Storm (1987), the poignantly real case of a boy who died in Vietnam. As Ellis did in A Family Project (1988), Nelson begins by painting a glowing portrait of a happy family, the Brennans, in this case extended by Wing's close friend Sam Daily and his mother. Slower than his five-years-younger sister, Geraldine, Wing is prone to bickering with her; poor grades in spite of hard work seem to be the source of his occasionally explosive temper. When his 18th birthday coincides with the news that his low grades are going to keep him off the basketball team, Wing enlists. Grieving for Wing's decision yet supporting the war (Dad is a WW II veteran), the family breaks with Sam (his father died in Korea), who is now actively protesting it. But Wing's death leads to reconciliation: Wing himself had come to doubt the war's purpose; after their loss, the Brennans come to understand that Sam's activism was born of wanting Wing to come safely home. By narrating from Geraldine's point of view (though in the third person), Nelson focuses with the eyes of an early teen-ager--who can be cruelly competitive with her older brother (Wing seems like a bright kid with a learning disability, but this is not explicit); who adores his best friend; who is finally the recipient of Wing's most telling confidences in letters from Vietnam. A moving, beautifully crafted story.

Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Orchard
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