Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to Bataan - Jerome Charyn

Publisher:Farrar Strus & Giroux
Pages:  101
Source:  Review copy from publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction

Back to Bataan Summary:
New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.

My Thoughts:
This is one of those stories that stays with the reader long after they have read it.  It is very well written.  We get to look through the eyes of a young man who has lost his father to the war.  He is like many who lose their way only to find it in a strange turn of events.  I look forward to putting this on my shelves at school.  It will give my students a look at life during the 1940’s for children of that time.  There are so many lessons to be learned through this book.  There is so much they can compare to today and the war we fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The book was a look at one life in particular, Jack Dalton.  However, we see that not only is he affected by decisions he makes, but his decisions affect others as well.  This is a must read for anyone interested in life during this period in time.  This is a book for old a young alike.

Jerome Charyn's Bio:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

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1 comment:

  1. Sandra, thanks so much for appreciating Jerome's writing style. I agree, I think children today coping with the war in Afghanistan and Iraq would be able to relate to Jerome's depiction of war and how it affected 1940s New York.