Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Wednesday- The War That Saved My Life

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Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War That Saved My Life
January 8th 2015 by Dial
Denied a copy through Netgalley, but got one from Westerville Public Library

Ada was born with a clubfoot, and her mother is so ashamed that she has kept her in a small apartment her entire life, not even letting her go down the hall to the bathroom. To punish her, her mother will put her in a small cabinet with roaches, often overnight. Ada takes care of her younger brother, Jamie, when her mother works at night, so when she finds that Jamie is going to be evacuated to the countryside because of World War II, she decides to go with him, even though she can barely walk. The two manage to make it to the village where children are being billeted, but no one wants them, so the organizer takes them to the home of Susan Smith, who knows nothing about children and is grieving the friend who left her her home as well as a horse, Butter. Susan knows enough that children need to be clean and dressed, and the two children revel in clean sheets, combed hair, and, in Ada's case, the ability to go outside and use a flush toilet. Ada is given crutches, which add considerably to her mobility, makes friends, and generally thrives. When the government sends a letter to her mother demanding support payment, however, her mother decides to take the children back rather than pay the money. Luckily, both the children and Susan realize that they are meant to be together, and the story has a happy ending.
Strengths: I would have absolutely adored this as a child. World War II Britain, with London children being evacuated? Yes! Mean mother, but wonderful (if curmudgeonly) foster mother? Even better! This was a quick read, and had lots of good historical elements.
Weaknesses: I've weeded more World War II books about British children being evacuated than I care to remember. No one reads them. Maybe because this one is shiny and new, and involves a child with a disability?
What I really think: Enjoyed tremendously, but don't know if I have readers for it. Will probably buy a copy next year.

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