Wednesday, August 1, 2012

While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

During the summer before Penna's senior year in high school, her boyfriend, David, went off to Iraq to fight in the war.

The time when David went off to training camp was hard on Penna. Now David will be in Iraq for a year, a year that Penna has to find something to occupy her mind with so she doesn't go stir crazy while David is away.

Penna's mother then makes her work at Red Earth, the restaurant that she manages. At first Penna wants nothing to do with working. She wants to write to David, think about David, and anxiously sit next to the phone for when he can call.

But after working at Red Earth for awhile, Penna finds herself making some new friends, finding activities to do, and the waiting is less intense than at the beginning of the year.

Penna also has found her lost long grandmother. Now Penna can get to know her roots and get to know her grandmother after all of this time.

After a while, Penna finds that she's missed phone calls from David. Before, it would have really upset her that she missed them. She tries to call back but is not able to get through.

It's almost the beginning of senior year. Only 9 more months until David is back. Will things fall back into place by the time he returns? Will Penna be the same girl when he left? Will David be the same boy before he left? Read While He Was Away by Karen Schreck to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Okay...This book. I'm at odds with it. On the one hand, it was a great depiction of what happens when loved ones are separated and when an armed forces solider goes off to war.

On the other hand... I could not relate to this novel or the characters at all. I think I had to be able to understand what was going on and I just couldn't.

I've never had anyone in my family go off to war. Not even distant relatives. So what Penna and David were going through? I have no idea. Maybe this is how relationships happen when one goes off to war.

So while I didn't enjoy this story, I can completely understand how everything panned out the way it did and why the characters acted the way they did.

I think readers who have been through this situation would enjoy the story better than I did. I'm not sure if younger readers could read this and really understand the meaning behind the story, and old readers can read it, but they might have the reaction I did if they have no experience with this subject.

It is a great story to be told, though, given the events that are happening today. I just didn't connect with the story as well as I wanted to for some reason.

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