WOW! I had a great reading week (and it is only Wednesday!). I had airport delays and had some extra reading time. The plane rides were a bit bumpy so I didn't sleep. Lucky for me, I had great books. One, that has been on my stack for a while is SHOOTING THE MOON by Frances O'Roark Dowell. She has been an author I have paid attention to for a while. I can always count on her books to engage and surprise me.
SHOOTING THE MOON is definitely my favorite for this author. It is a powerful story and, as always, Dowell builds characters that we know and love. I read completely for character--plot is secondary. And I loved the characters in the book. The thing that I am always amazed with in her writing is how well we get to know, even the minor characters. I love that about her writing.
SHOOTING THE MOON is about Jamie Dexter and is set during the Vietnam War. Jamie's father is a colonel and she has grown up with a great love of the military. Now, her brother, TJ has enlisted and has been sent to Vietnam. While he is there, he sends Jamie film to be developed--pictures that he takes in Vietnam. The pictures begin to tell the story of the war of of TJ's life there.
This is a powerful story. A story of how war affects a family and how a family deals with a child that is sent to war. It is the story of a young girl growing up and finding herself. And there is amazing thread of photography throughout the book.
This is not an easy book to read in 2008--when we are in the midst of a war. I was worried about how it would end. I worried the whole way through the book. I am certainly not going to give it a way, but it was an ending that was satisfying, believable, and..oh, I won't say anymore. But she scored a few more points with me as a writer for the ending. Very brilliantly done, I thought.
I had this on my stack but then decided to move it to the top of my stack after Betsy at Fuse #8 put it on her Newbery Predictions (Spring Edition!) List:-) Betsy has this one as her #1 pick. Right now, this one is right up there with THE UNDERNEATH. I really lucked out with the 2 books I threw in my carry-on bag this week! I don't know if I'll be able to top these. You know how reading is after you've read something amazing? But it was well worth it to have read this book. I am pretty sure this one will end up on my Newbery prediction list in January.