Wednesday, July 09, 2008

SHOOTING THE MOON by Frances O'Roark Dowell

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.


  1. Ok, Fuse 8, Megan at Read, Read, Read, and now you -- I'm convinced! This will be my next read. Thanks for the push! :)

  2. I read this last May and loved it. She is one of my favorite authors and this is a fabulous book.


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