“Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mal Peet delivers a wonderful YA view of war & peace through a coming of age story and historical fiction...

Life: An Exploded Diagram

By Mal Peet

Mal Peet has been an author on my radar for a long time, but this is the first book I’ve read by him.  He is a British author who has received awards for previous works including Tamar and ExposureLife is an historical fiction that cleverly surges through multiple generations within a family spanning from early WWI England through Sept 11, 2001 in New York City.

In the first generation, Win’s husband Percy dies in WWI.  While Ruth’s husband George is fighting in WWII, a German fighter plane crashes just over their garden hitting the roof of the house as the war is ending and she gives birth to their son Clem.  Clem grows up in England with the backdrop of the cold war in a growing and changing English landscape as he experiences the conflict of the Kennedy administration and the crisis in Cuba as portrayed through the media on a daily basis.

Mal Peet delivers a wonderful story filled with multi-generational interpretations of the changing times around them, progressive views of war and peace, and a wonderful coming of age story as Clem comes to learn who he is among a cast of friends, family and young love.  It is a thought-provoking read that will leave you pondering long after you turn the last page -- a perfect book for discussion in book groups or clubs.

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