Scholastic Booktalk

It is time to look back, to relive the past and set it to rest, so I can turn and look ahead at the future.

It is 1946, and I am waiting for Mitsy to come home. Now that I can almost see it’s ending, it is time to tell our story of friendship, love, war, hatred, and betrayal. It is time to reveal the past, and to release it.

What is love, and what makes it come and go? Why can you love someone and hate them at the same time? I fell in love with Mitsy when we were still children, but during 1941, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when the war reached the coast of northern Australia, I hated her as well. It wasn’t until then that I began to understand how my mother felt about my father, and why she left us alone to go back home to England.

Why do people become friends and then enemies? How can friendship turn to betrayal? Jamie and I became friends more because we were opposite than alike, and perhaps because Anne, Mitsy, and I could see how he was bullied by his overbearing and opinionated father. But Jamie was whole, able to enlist and join the war. A storm too long ignored, and too destructive not to be fatal, had ensured long ago that I would never be whole again. When the war began, the differences between us could no longer be ignored.

The war....it changed all of us in ways that we could never have predicted. Lives were torn apart and shattered, forcing us to stitch them back together in new patterns and new shapes. Lives were twisted and mangled, some too damaged to be repaired. But now, as I look back on how it all began, how it grew and fell apart, I begin to see a pattern in it all, perhaps even a reasoning of how and why, and an understanding, an acceptance.

What happened before the war, during it, and what is still happening today? Come down to my father’s store, look at my journals, and listen to my story.

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart