When our Jack went to war by Sandy McKay (Random House)
Tom, his mum and little sister Amy are proud but worried when their older brother and son has to go off to war. They have already lost their husband and father, leaving mum depressed and prone to staring out the window for hours on end.
They’d be lost with Mum’s friend Mrs J from around the corner – who comes in and sorts out the house and gets mum moving again.
Letters begin between 13 yr old Tom and 18 yr old Jack away at Trentham training camp. The letters are light hearted to begin with, giving the reader an insight into 1916 New Zealand childhoods through Tom’s letters, and life as a trainee soldier from Jack.
But as Jack gets closer to the fighting after a trip across the ocean to England and time spent in another camp in France, the letters portray the real horrors of war in the trenches. Lice, rats, hunger and shellshock. Media from the time is a sharp contrast to the truth of Jack’s new existence. Prepare for a harrowing but credible conclusion.
Interspersed with advertisements and newspaper clippings from the time, When our Jack went to War is a fictional but realistic story of NZ’s involvement in the WW1 in 1916. Many families would’ve followed the same journey Jack’s family did.
ISBN 9781775431329 RRP$20 P/B 192 Pages
Reviewed by Adele Broadbent
Based on the author's research into the death of her own great uncle, who died in 1917. The NZ Post Award-winning Sandy Mckay ably conveys how war affects everyone ...
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