Title: Back to Bataan
Author: Jerome Charyn
Rating: 4 out of 5
New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...
Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.
This book is so awesome it makes me wonder why it is not a lot more famous. The writing is flawless and I fell in love with Jack's character. He is amazingly more mature and interesting at 11 than most YA protagonists.
The story is about 11 year old Jack Dalton, he is the resident scholarship kid at Dutch Masters Day school, so naturally he gets the stick from his wealthy classmates and when his girlfriend breaks up with him for a the rich boy Alfredo Jack does something stupid to hurt Alfredo's family.Thinking he committed a big crime he runs away and joins a gang of a sort led by The Leader.
For a book this short, the characters are amazingly developed and intricate. This book surprised me. I did not expect to enjoy a book this much when it centers so much on historical facts.
This book is not about the usual teen angst and drama but delves into the basic human nature, bravery, love and betrayal in World war two America.
The one thing I found strange about this book was that while the protagonist was 11 I felt like I was looking through the eyes of a much older person, this is not a necessarily a bad thing since it showed how fast children were forced to grow up around war.
To be honest, this book is not the light hearted book of teen drama but a series look into the life on eleven year old in World War two.
I give this book 4 out 5 stars.