Brothers Far From Home: The World War I Diary of Eliza Bates, Uxbridge, Ontario, 1916 by Jean Little (US) - (Canada)
Dear Canada series
Finished: Feb. 19, 2012
First Published: 2003
Publisher: Scholastic Canada
Genre: children, historical fiction, WWI,
First sentence: "It is Christmas Day and I hate my sister Verity."
Publisher's Summary: "It has been two long years since Eliza's beloved older brother, Hugo, went away to war. Caught up in his enthusiasm, she couldn't understand her parents' less-than-enthusiastic reaction. Now that her other brother, Jack, has also enlisted, she yearns for the safe return of both brothers. If only she had a friend that she could talk to about her feelings. . ."
Acquired: Borrowed a copy from my local library.
Reason for Reading: I am working my way through this series. I chose this one in particular because I am participating in a WWI Reading Challenge.
I was thrilled when I saw Jean Little had written this; she is one of my childhood favourite authors and I just knew it was going to be good. A wonderful story that tells the story of life for those left on the home front after the two eldest boys of a large family go off to war. The war itself is experienced in a roundabout way through letters home and the family's reading of newspapers and listening to the radio. Eliza occasionally pastes these letters and clippings into her diary. During the story, more than the facts and details of the war are presented along with the feelings of the participants and, mostly, those left behind. Eliza's father is a minister who is a pacifist, unusual at the time, praying for the war to end and for the safety of the boys on both sides. An opinion not exactly popular when everyone else is praying for the Kaiser to die and for "our" side to win. We see into the feelings of pride and constant fear of the parents and the mixed feelings of the various aged siblings. We also see the day-to-day life and how the war affected it back home in Canada. The women's movement is explored through an aunt who becomes independent and the eldest sister who becomes a nurse. Eliza herself, writes a charming diary. She is the middle child of seven and lonely within the large family, especially when her favourite sibling then eldest brother leaves. Her diary takes the place of a best friend and we, the Dear Reader become her confidant and see her mature over the two year time span. A delightful read!