Tuesday, April 27, 2010

REVIEW: Warriors in the Crossfire

Okay, so normally I'd do a 3-day post on Warriors in the Crossfire like a good little blogger.

But it would seem for this round of the blog tour I will only be posting one day.

It'd be easy to say I've been busy.

But I haven't been.  Not really.  I've been avoiding work and wouldn't blogging be the perfect avoidance?

I think so.

But I haven't been blogging.

I've been distracted.

By Netflix Instant View.

Why must they have entire seasons of some of my favorite shows?

But, I've turned off the TV now and finished Warriors in the Crossfire.  So, let's get the review!

Warriors in the CrossfireFlood, N.B.  (2010).  Warriors in the Crossfire.  Honesdale, PA:  Front Street.


141 Pages.

Appetizer:  Joseph, his family and his tribe live on the island of Saipan in 1944.  The island has already been under the control of the Japanese for the duration of the war, and many of the tribe's freedoms stripped away.  As the American forces grow close, the Japanese military's presence also increases, taking the last vestiges of freedom and replacing it with the certainty that the island will be bombed.

When Joseph's father is forced to leave to do manual labor for the Japanese, it falls to Joseph to lead his family to safety in the island caves, despite the fact that the rest of the islanders don't think anyone will be safe there.

As you can probably guess, this book is a laugh riot.

But seriously, there are a few moments of brevity, mixed in among the many tensions between the natives and the japanese, boyhood and manhood, loyalty and betrayal, imprisonment and freedom.  It's a lot to take on.  And Nancy Bo Flood manages to do so with a lot of poetic language.

Flood does a stunning job of describing the setting.  Her writing helped me to picture the island, but still left me wanting more.  As a teacher, if I used this book in a social studies classroom, I would be sure to try to include some photos of Saipan (in the 1940s and now--Flood notes that the island is now home to many hotels and resorts) to support and really bring home the setting and sorrows of the story.  However, when taking on such a project, while I would of incorporate this photo, and this one, I might leave this one out, depending upon the messages I wanted to share with young impressionable minds.

As I read more and more, I found that while the book was a mere 140 pages, and a relatively quick read, I still had to take some breaks from some of the content.  While there's nothing that is graphically upsetting, Joseph has to deal with a lot of tough emotional realities, fears and responsibilities in a time and place that is often ignored by the standard issue history textbooks, making this an important but also intense read.

Dinner Conversation:

"They're coming.  Get down.  Now!" I stared into the darkness at the black curved beach.  Soldiers should not have been patrolling so early.  The last group usually finished their round at midnight.  Waves lapped against the wet sand.  Palm fonds clattered.  I heard the sounds of hard leather military boots stomping across loose coral and rock" (p. 9).

"We flew up, over the outer edge of the reef, and were free.  Free of the rules, the restrictions, the always watching, patrolling soldiers.  The Japanese may have taken our stores, our schools, even our lands, but they could not take this.  Not the ocean" (p. 14).

"The new Japanese rules forbade us--any native--to use a canoe or fish outside the lagoon.  We were all suspected of being spies, of sending information to the American military.  We were not allowed to have a radio--none--in the entire village.  No newspapers.  Nothing printed.  Each week brought new restrictions, earlier curfews, more arrests" (p. 25).

"The cave is up there.  As soon as I am certain no one has followed us, we will climb to it."
"I don't understand--"
"Remember the turtle.  Joseph.  When the shark smells blood, he attacks.  The turtle pulls in his head, waits...survives.  Joseph, survive.  Bring our family here" (p. 59).

Tasty Rating: !!!

You can also find out more about Warriors in the Crossfire and the book's author, Nancy Bo Flood, by checking out the rest of the book tour:

Whispers of Dawn

Cafe of Dreams

The Hungry Readers

My Own Little Corner of the World


Reading is My Superpower

5 Minutes for Books

Becky’s Book Reviews

Fireside Musings

My Utopia

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