In the summer of 1984, the war in Vietnam comes home to Sam Hughes, whose father was killed there before she was born:
The soldier-boy in the picture never changed. In a way that made him dependable. But he seemed so innocent.
"Astronauts have been to the moon," she blurted out to the picture. "You missed Watergate. I was in the second grade."
She stared at the picture, squinting her eyes, as if she expected it to come to life. But Dwayne had died with his secrets. Emmett was walking around with his. Anyone who survived Vietnam seemed to regard it as something personal and embarrassing. Granddad had said they were embarrassed that they lost the war, but Emmett said they were embarrassed that they were still alive. "I guess you're not embarrassed," she said to the picture.
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Bobbie Ann Mason has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her books include In Country and Feather Crowns. She lives in Kentucky.From School Library Journal:
YA Sam, 17, is obsessed with the Vietnam War and the effect it has had on her lifelosing a father she never knew and now living with Uncle Emmett, who seems to be suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. In her own forthright way, she tries to sort out why and how Vietnam has altered the lives of the vets of Hopewell, Kentucky. Her untempered curiosity and imagination sprint off in all directions as she examines closely the often undiscussed, but always noticed, aspects of daily life. In this coming-of-age novel, Sam ponders many problems, among them Emmett's crusty, salve-covered pimples, veteran Tom's inability to have an erection and her good friend Dawn's pregnancy. Although Sam lives in a disheveled, tawdry house, she brings a freshness of spirit to the way she scrutinizes and revels in life. When she wants to understand living conditions in the Vietnam jungles, she decides she has to experience it, so spends the night beside a local swamp. A harshly realistic, well-written look at the Vietnam War as well as the story of a young woman maturing. Pam Spencer, Mount Vernon High School Library, Fairfax, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harper Perennial, 1986. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110060913509