Quick Revew: Emancipation Day and The War That Saved My Life

Both of these books take place during World War II.

  • Emancipation Day by Wayne Grady
    • Rating: ★★½ [ratings guide]
    • This is only the second book I’ve read that uses passing to explore racial identity and prejudice. Boy, Snow, Bird introduced me to the concept, of which I was previously ignorant. 
    • I liked the setting and the incorporation of historical events. I especially liked that part of the story is set in Newfoundland prior to its joining with Canada. 
    • The story is pretty bleak and felt flat overall, to me. Missing that spark that brings a story alive. The final line definitely caught me in the gut, though! Ouch, what a conclusion.
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    •  Rating: ★★★ [ratings guide]
    • I like stories about plucky young evacuees during WWII. I suppose that comes from the Narnia books and the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I should read more books about them.
    • A lot of the story felt unbelievable to me. Mam reads as a caricature and Ada teaches herself unaided (to walk, to ride a horse) remarkably well for a nine-year-old who’s been shut in doors her entire life. The ending is a bit of a spectacle. However, if I were younger, I think I would forgive these aspects of the books in favour of Ada herself, whose line of thinking and emotional reactions feel very much so believable. She could be very inspirational. I would cheer when she succeeds because of her bravery and I would admire her devotion to her brother.
    • I wonder if Ada was meant to have an autism spectrum disorder? Her screaming, her distancing moments, disliking touch and the comfort she finds in being wrapped in pressure prompted this thought. (Pardon my ignorance if I’m way off base here – these could also all be symptoms of being locked up her whole life). At least, I like to think a child who experiences these things and reads this book will find someone to look up to in Ada.

  • Otto Mann

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