Monday, November 8, 2010
I hate it when my antiques hurl me into the space/time continuum . . .
Depressed teen, Martin Conway didn't like it much either. Martin lives in the shadows of an alcoholic father, an overcritical mother and an over-achieving sister. What makes is worse is that everyone hopes that he will measure up to his namesake; a WWII hero of a Grandfather. But Martin can't measure up. He makes poor grades in school, has few friends and when he is picked on by a group of boys at school, he ends up suspended for something that he didn't do. It turns out that he has more in common with his alcoholic father and his mentally ill uncle more than his grandfather.
Everything changes when his mystical grandmother dies and leaves him her antique radio from the 1940's. As he falls asleep to the radio static, he is transported back in time to WWII Where a a boy named Jimmy is pleading for his help, although he's not exactly sure what he needs Martin to do. . . . yet.
This book was a pleasant surprise. I picked it up at the library on a whim. I luv, luv, luv it when that happens!
Book characterization: I like how the characters in this book are believable. They are all flawed yet have their own endearing traits. This book gently explores alcoholism, depression and mental illness in a positive way. I would recommend this book for children facing such issues.
Voice: I think the main characters voice was a little weak. He used several words that I wouldn't expect a teenage boy to use. However that didn't take away (much) of my enjoyment of the voice. I cared about the character and his circumstances. I loved the voice of the WWII boy, Jimmy. I felt like I got a good sense of who he was and his perspective.
The underlying drive of the book: I think this is what sets this book apart from other time-travel/historical fiction books. The underlying question asks, "What do you think makes one man a disgrace and another one a hero?" The story explores how some of those who have been deemed "great" may not be as wonderful as we would like to think. Likewise, those who we tend to look down our noses at may actually be the ones who come through for us in the end.
On a scale of 1 LUV to 5 LUVS, I rate it 4Luvs! <3 <3 <3 <3
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find an old radio and see where (and when) it will take me.