Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

This is a historical, multicultural novel, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Tali and Octavia are taking a cross-country trip with their grandmother, Mare. Mare likes to drive fast and live her life any way she likes. During the trip, Mare shares her life story with her granddaughters, and they learn that there's more to her than the brash exterior. Mare ran away from her drunken mother and her abusive boyfriends to join the WAC during WW II. The kids learn about her struggles to survive basic training, the prejudice she experienced, and her time in Europe near the end of the war. The kids make a new connection with their grandmother when they learn about her colorful past.

The chapters of this novel are alternately written during the car ride and through flashbacks to Mare's life in the 1940's. The majority of the plot revolves around Mare's time as a WAC. The car ride has the girls reflecting on Mare's story along with their interesting interactions Mare. For example, Tali and Mare strike up an agreement regarding Mare's smoking and Tali's music that is challenged throughout the trip. Some funny scenes describe Octavia learning to drive, and Tali's texts, phone calls, and letters as she tries to maintain her social life back home. Very "dramatic". Even though I'm a middle-aged man and most of the characters in this novel are black females, I still enjoyed the story. I also appreciated the historical references to segregation and important events during the war.

Lexile level from 830