the next good book

Girl At War

By Sara Novic


320 pages

What’s it about? It is 1991 and Ana is a ten-year-old girl living in Zagreb (Croatia’s capitol) when civil war erupts throughout Yugoslavia.  Ana’s life changes in small ways at first, and then her life just changes.  This book moves back and forth through time to show how war is forever woven into the lives of those who experience it.What did I think? This was an interesting and difficult look at how modern wars are waged…“As a side effect of modern warfare, we had the peculiar privilege of watching the destruction of our country on television.”The story not only moves through time but it also moves from Croatia to America.  Ana narrates this story, and it is seeing Croatia and America through Ana’s eyes that make this story so compelling. Should you read it? I am sure this is the first of many books I will read by Sara Novic.   This novel handles difficult subjects with such grace.  I am really surprised this is her first novel.  Very impressive! Quote- “The country was at war, but for most people the war was more an idea than an experience, and I felt something between anger and shame that Americans- that I- could sometimes ignore its impact for days at a time.  In Croatia, life in wartime had meant a loss of control, war holding sway over every thought and movement, even while you slept.  It did not allow for forgetting. But America’s war did not constrain me: it did not cut my water or shrink my food supply.  There was no threat of takeover with tanks or foot soldiers or cluster bombs, not here.  What war meant in America was incongruous with what had happened in Croatia- what must have been happening in Afghanistan- that it almost seemed a misuse of the word.”

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