An Enemy Like Me
The American flag: a symbol of freedom, a symbol of sacrifice. William Miller is proud to be an American and to have served, but Veteran’s Day 2016 brings back memories. Some long forgotten. Others as vivid as they were in 1944 when four-year-old William watches the train depart. He only understands that his father is leaving, Mommy is sad, and nothing is the same.
Jacob Miller is proud to be a first-born American, but he also has an abiding affection for his German heritage. With minor hiccups in their lives, he and Bonnie welcome their first child. Then Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. He wants to fight the Japanese, but his conscience tells him it’s more important to take care of his family. Until his friend is sent to an internment camp because his loyalty is questioned. If Jacob wishes to keep his family safe, he must enlist to fight the Japanese. Instead, he ends up fighting Germans.
Born into money, Bonnie Phillips finds her world upended when the stock market crashes. She’s been taught that classes don’t mix, but meeting Jacob alters her perspective. She doesn’t understand his insistence on joining the army, until she sees other German-American men boarding the train. While Jacob is away, she fights her own battles, waging a mental war of “what-ifs” that threaten to overwhelm her.
This novel spans nearly a century, although the majority occurs in the United States between 1939 and 1946. Brown poignantly demonstrates how war affects everyone, not just those who fight, and that trying to understand those changes may take years. This story tugs at heart strings and skillfully depicts life-altering events from the perspectives of a child, a wife and mother, and a husband and father. It will also affect readers as strongly as it affects the characters.