October Releases

Friday, September 21, 2012

Back To Bataan Blog Tour - Indie Book Review: Back to Bataan by Jerome Charyn

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Author: Jerome Charyn
Format: ePub
Release Date: July 1,2012 (original date: April 1, 1993)
Pages: 80
Publisher: Tribute Books
Genre: Historical Fiction/Childrens/Young Adult

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Synopsis from Goodreads

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.


      Our main character Jack just lost his father and he wants to go to war even though he is 11 years old. He is obsessed with war and history. He even already has his fiancee planned out. But after losing her to a rich spoiled kid and feeling like he has lost everything, he makes a big mistake. Jack ends up meeting a man and his group who he thought were good people, but he soon finds out that he must become a soldier of a different war.

      You know the saying, “Don't judge a book by its cover”? Well that couldn't be more true than Back to Bataan. You look at the cover and you think you will get a YA read, but that is not the case. Our main character is 11 years old, not a teenager. Not to mention, this isn't a real "romance" (they are eleven afterall), which again, you would think it would be from the cover. This is a childrens' book, but even as a childrens' book it is a book for a real world. It is a war book through the eyes of a child. Jack was definitely a peculiar eleven year old. He was very smart, but his obsession with the war definitely drove him to fight. But I loved Jack. He was always there for the “little guy”. People who are usually judged whether by nationality or wealth (or lack there of), he quickly tried to become friends with. It made me like him a lot. I love that no matter how difficult his life was, he never took it out on anyone especially those less fortunate than him. His mom and him are struggling, but his mom does what she can.

      I like the journey Charyn takes us. Seeing the life of a boy in World War II. The story was pretty fast, only 80 pages. I like how that in such a short amount of time, Jack learns a lot. His world gets turned upside down because of the Leader and how he takes advantage of him. This book definitely showcases what It was like back in WWII and the struggles some families had to face. Jack may be eleven and living on ration stamps, but he keeps his head up. The speech he made at the very end of the story was definitely from a boy way more mature than his age. Hell, most adults don't think like that.

      Overall, this was a good read. I have never read a book quite like this or told like this. I won't lie, it was difficult for me to read because of how different it was for me, but it grew on me. The romance portion wasn't really needed, but doesn't take away from the book. It isn't along the lines of the regular "Young Adult" reads I am use to, but it is worth the read. It is a unique story full of history, tragedy, inspiration and courage. I guarantee you will be smiling when you get to the end.
*This book belongs to the following challenges*
Dead Book Darling's The 2012 Short Story Challenge


Jerome Charyn 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.

Follow Jerome Charyn here:

1 comment:

  1. Diana, I'm glad Jerome's writing was unlike anything you've experienced before. Thanks for the review!


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