Don’t Talk to Me About the War
It is 1940. Thirteen-year-old Tommy would like to enjoy just being a kid. He is more interested in listening to Brooklyn Dodgers games on the radio than war news. But the world is changing, and so is he. He can’t ignore the worries of a Jewish friend who has family members in Europe. His mother becomes ill, and he watches as she first searches for a medical diagnosis and then comes to terms with multiple sclerosis. His feelings toward Beth, a schoolmate at his Bronx junior high, change, and soon he is in the throes of first love. He grows in character and maturity by dealing with life’s challenges.
The sense of place and time in this book can’t be faulted. There are fascinating historical details. It’s easy to like young Tommy, the narrator, and his voice is absolutely convincing. A good part of the time, however, he is more of a spectator than a participant in the events unfolding around him, and some young readers may wish for a stronger storyline. Those who enjoy vicariously traveling back to a different time in American history for a slice of life won’t be disappointed. Ages 11 and up.