Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Rose For The ANZAC Boys by Jackie French

Rating: 4 out of 5
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Edition: Kindle
Publisher: HarperCollins (April 1, 2010)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0732285402
ISBN-13: 978-0732285401

Please Note – The following review is "told" from the main characters point of view. The book is not based on anyone’s life. The main characters are all fictional. 

Dear Anne

I have some exciting news to tell you, my life story has been turned into a book by the Australian author Jackie French. Well not my whole life story just our time spent on the battle fields in France during World War I. It was very flattering to be told my life was being turned into a book, she even used some of my old letters.

I just finished reading my copy of the book and I have to say Ms French did a very good job of capturing my life out there manning the canteen at the train station, then driving the battlefield ambulance, and finally working in the field hospital. In fact she does a brilliant job of capturing all the women who worked on the front line, risking their lives daily to make sure our brave boys were cared for. It was funny reading the story as I never realised how many of us there were there all trying to do our bit and working in terrible conditions all for nothing no pay, no recognition, nothing. Just makes me wonder how many more amazing women were at the frontline and what they did.

It was bittersweet reading about all our old dear friends and family members, those who survived and those who didn’t make it from the battlefield. French was able to convey the sadness and loss, not just my own personal loss, but the overall sadness of war. It was very difficult to read about my brother and his time at Galopilli.

As the book is aimed at younger readers there is no unnecessary violence or blood and gore. It is probably best though to read it with your children or give them plenty of opportunity to discuss the themes with them. Even though it isnt graphic in terms of blood and guts, some scenes were still very vivid and deal with death. Perhaps I am being a little sensitive about it all? But I will be making sure my grand children read this that is for sure, and maybe it will help them understand what we went through.

I was quite amazed at the research Ms French put into the book and in particular the role women played during the Great War. Even though she had my story (she had my diary, found it in the Australian Archives no less. I had wondered where that diary had gone) she had clearly done her homework on women on the front in general. As I said before she really did capture what our lives were like. From life as an ambulance driver, to manning the canteen, and working in the field hospital. Looking back I don't remember being that tired all the time but reading the story we clearly must of been. How did we function?

There are no historical figures mentioned or has a character based on them  (other than the prime ministers and so forth, no one involved directly with the book) or specific events mentioned. If you knew your WWI history you could guess what the "pushes" that the author mentions were. The author told me this is because the book is about the women who worked on the front not the men, who would have thought someone would want to tell our story?

Well I am afraid that is it for me right now dear friend hope you are doing well.

Your ever loving friend



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