Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Jimmy's War by Lynne Benton

Reviewed by Jackie Marchant

Here is a terrific book about World War II – written in the easy to read flowing style perfect for younger readers, yet still able to bring across the terror and heartbreak that children faced during the war.  A book I enjoyed reading and would heartily recommend – as long as you have a kindle.

This is another example of a book that has been self-published because mainstream publishers wouldn’t take a punt on it.  I don’t know why – perhaps it’s because World War II isn’t considered marketable at the moment.  There is absolutely no reason why this should not have been published – it’s as good as any other war-time story I’ve read for that age group.

But back to the book.  Here we have eleven year old Jimmy, whose father told him to do look after his younger sister and do as his mother says – then left to go to war.  That was over a year ago and now his mother’ had the dreaded ‘missing presumed dead’ telegram.  Now the children have the chance to be evacuated to Cornwall but, wracked with grief, his mother can’t bear to let the children go – they are all she has left.

The consequences of her decision are disastrous, leaving Jimmy with the task of taking his young sister Molly away from their bombed out house and finding their way to an aunt in Somerset.  With barely enough money for the fair and their possessions packed into pillowcases, the children set off.  Now the descriptions of two lost children come into their own as we are taken on a gripping, heart-in-your mouth adventure, in which young Jimmy takes on the responsibility of looking after Molly while keeping a terrible secret from her.  As a consequence the lies keep piling up, then the frustration at Molly’s questions turns to guilt at his annoyance with her.  For Molly is an endearing six year old with a furry rabbit she can’t do without. 

I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will say that, after a lot of trials and tribulations, the ending of the book is positive.  I won’t say it is happy ever after, because that would be unrealistic – this is a book about war and happy endings were rare.  And this book, despite its gentle tone, deals realistically with the horrors of war.

It’s a good read and I can recommend it.




Penny Dolan said...

So great to know that stories like "Jimmy's War" are able to reach audiences now. A good book to review!.

Sue Purkiss said...

I've just read this too - thoroughly enjoyed it!

Ann Turnbull said...

I've got this on my Kindle - looking forward to reading it.

blinky kinks said...

Looks like a really good read, love the cover!

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