I love when books surprise me. I ordered Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth by Sheila O'Connor, mostly because it was a juvenile fiction book about the Vietnam War. When it arrived, I was intrigued and set out to read it right away.
Written in the form of letters between 11 year old Reenie Kelly and Mr. Marsworth, the town recluse, this book is full of the innocence of childhood summers, and the loss of that innocence set against the back drop of the Vietnam War.
We come to learn that Mr. Marsworth is a pacifist, and his opposition to the draft have left him ostracized by the community. Reenie is looking for ways to prevent her 18 year old brother from being drafted.
It's rare that books make me cry, but this one had me crying multiple times, as we are drawn in to Reenie's adventures and her devotion to family.
It is a wonderful book I recommend to a reader of any age.
But I also realized I haven't read much about the Vietnam War, nor do I know much about it. In school and even in college we learned the Revolution, Civil War, and World Wars, but never seemed to get to Vietnam.
I have read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, Fallen Angelsby Walter Dean Myers, and ...And a Hard Rain Fell by John Ketwig. But this was the first book that I have read from the point of view of the families left behind and those opposing the war at home.
This has inspired me to learn more about this era, and seek out related books. And to me, that is the mark of a truly remarkable book- one that leads you to learn more, that you won't soon forget, and leaves you moved.