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jackifulwood

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Benjamin Constable
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Mare's War - Tanita S. Davis I can sum up my feelings for this book thusly: Eh.

It's a light, easy read despite the occasionally heavy subject matter. However, the characterization didn't work for me. I didn't see the point in including snippets from the granddaughter's point of view. To me, they added nothing to the story and only distracted from the main narrative. Then, I grew bored quickly with the heroine because she doesn't change. She's a hardheaded take-charge person from the outset, and her army experience doesn't change her but rather allows her to channel her abilities. She wasn't engaging enough to hide this flaw.

The story itself reads like the author had a ton of historical details she wanted to share and created a plot to convey them. We hear about racism and segregation, we see what it was like to be a WAC during World War II. However, the author passively remains in this illustrative vein all through the book. Perhaps that would work for younger readers (age 10-12), but an early scene in which the heroine's mother's boyfriend (did you get that?) tries to rape the heroine and her younger sister and winds up on the losing end of the heroine's axe and the mother's shotgun, would certainly make me think twice about recommending the book to that age group. Because of the pedestrian plot and low reading level, I wouldn't recommend the book to older teens.

One point that did make me happy was the portrayal of discrimination against lesbians at this time in history. That's still a topic we don't explore in literature usually, perhaps because we're focused on the discrimination that goes on today. I think the author was right to include the perception of women in the army as "mannish" and lesbian, and the commonly-held belief that army women would be prey to the advances of army men, when the two sexes were segregated at that time.

Recommend to: Age 13-15, history buffs, lower-level readers, kids who need strong female role models

Don't recommend to: Anyone who likes action in their military stories...or action in their any kind of story, for that matter