One of Mary Dowing Hahn's most gripping and personal stories tells the poignant story of World War II back home at last. Culled from her memories of growing up under the shadows of WWII, this story has touched young readers for more than fifteen years.
Margaret and Elizabeth support everything about the war: the troops, the reasons for going to war, even the food rations. After all, this is the good war and the Americans are the good guys. But when the girls stumble upon a classmate's secret, their feelings about the war begin to change. Is it really a good war? Is there ever such a thing?
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"The complex arguments for and against pacifism are woven into this involving story of a girl's experiences on the home front during World War II. Margaret, 11, and her boisterous friend Elizabeth hate the school bully, Gordy. They discover that a man living in the woods whom they had thought of as crazy is actually Gordy's gentle brother, who has deserted a war he feels he cannot morally fight. When Stuart nearly dies of pneumonia, the girls join forces with Gordy to get help and they gain insight into Gordy's difficult life with his alcoholic, abusive father. Well-drawn characters and a satisfying plot keep this from deteriorating into a message novel. The issues raised are presented from diverse points of view, and no easy answers are given. Margaret struggles with her feelings about her brother fighting (and ultimately dying) in a war that Stuart has deserted. She realizes, however, that Stuart's conscientious objection is not the black-and-white, coward vs. patriot matter her parents believe it to be." -- School Library Journal