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The War That Saved My Life

  • Language:English
  • Downloads:7921
  • Type:Epub+TxT+PDF+Mobi
  • Date:2017-01-21
  • Status:finish
  • Author:Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Environment:PC/Android/iPhone/iPad/Kindle

Recent Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a child I was what one might call a selective reader. Selective in that I studiously avoided any and all works of fiction that might conceivably be considered "depressing". "Bridge to Terabithia"? I'll have none please. "Island of the Blue Dolphins"? Pass. "Jacob Have I Loved?" Not in this lifetime. Lord only knows what caused a book to be labeled "depressing" in my eyes before I'd even read it. I think I went by covers alone. Books picturing kids staring out into the vast nothingness of the universe were of little use to me. Happily I got over this phase and eventually was able to go back to those books I had avoided to better see what I had missed. Still, that 10-year-old self is always with me and I confer with her when I'm reading new releases. So when I read "The War That Saved My Life" I had to explain to her, at length, that in spite of the premise, cover (again with the kids staring out into nothingness), and time period this isn't the bleak stretch of depressingness it might appear to be. Enormously satisfying and fun to read, Bradley takes a work of historical fiction and gives the whole premise of WWII evacuees a kick in the pants.

Ada is ten and as far as she can tell she's never been outdoors. Never felt the sun on her face. Never seen grass. Born with a twisted foot her mother considers her an abomination and her own personal shame. So when the chance comes for Ada to join her fellow child evacuees, including her little brother Jamie, out of the city during WWII she leaps at the chance. Escaping to the English countryside, the two are foisted upon a woman named Susan who declares herself to be "not nice" from the start. Under her care the siblings grow and change. Ada discovers Susan's pony and is determined from the get-go to ride it.
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By Bonnie Ferrante on January 16, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Although the protagonist in this book is only ten-years-old, young adults and adults alike will love it. Ada was born with a club foot to a cruel and abusive mother. To make matters worse, she often puts herself in harm's way to protect her little brother, Jamie. Ada's mother calls her a monster and refuses to let her leave the apartment, even to attend school. As a result, Ada knows nothing about the outside world. When her mother is feeling especially cruel, she locks Ada in a cupboard that becomes tighter and tighter as Ada grows.

When World War II begins, Jamie, along with many other neighborhood children, is shipped to the country to protect him from the bombing of London. Although Ada wants to go, her mother insists she is too disgusting for anyone to want. Unable to walk without severe pain and bleeding, Ada manages to escape with her little brother. However, when they reach the country, no family will claim these starved, lice ridden, shabby, dirty children.

What happens, as a result, is a miracle of the best order. Bradley gets inside of the mind of an abused ten-year-old with a deep sense of shame who longs for love and acceptance but is terrified to believe they are possible. Ada's journey is both heartbreaking and triumphant. Just when it seems she may be able to live a decent, happy life with Susan, a woman who understands rejection and loneliness, Ada is once again trapped under her mother's brutal thumb. The suspense will keep you turning to the very last page.

This is the kind of book you can't put down, not just because of the plot, but because you have fallen deeply in love with the characters. Highly recommended.

I was given a free paperback copy in exchange for an honest review.
By Deva Fagan on February 1, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I loved this so much! Ada is a prickly character, but with good reason (having been terribly abused by her birth-mother because of her clubfoot), and watching her growth here is wonderful, as she slowly, slowly learns to trust herself and others (especially Susan, who is mourning her own loss, and is prickly in her own way, but also so wise and marvelous). All these characters are wonderfully rendered, and I adored the details of life in the WWII-era British countryside.
By Kendra on January 12, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
There are books that are plot driven and books that are character driven. "The War that Saved my Life" is one that is thematically driven. Ada and her brother, Jamie, are living with their straight-from-a-Dickens-Bronte-novel abusive mother when World War II begins. Seeing an opportunity to escape their hellish existence in London, the children tag along with Jamie's schoolmates who are being evacuated to the countryside. Once out of London, Ada and Jamie find themselves under the care of a grieving woman, Susan.

Thematically, the story addresses and consistently reinforces the idea that people are simply "born that way" and should not be judged. At one point Jamie needs rescuing from a teacher who sees his left-handedness as the mark of the devil. Ada struggles throughout the entire novel with the shame her mother instilled in her over the clubfoot she was born with. Meanwhile Susan grieves the loss of her companion Becky and what she perceives are society's judgments on her.

Ultimately, the story brings the three characters together in a way that provides the opportunity for healing and renewal.