From the Publisher
It is 1916 and Europe is at war. From the poverty of the Dublin slums, twelve-year-old Jimmy Conway sees it all as glorious, and loves the British Army for which his father is fighting. But when war comes to his own streets Jimmy’s loyalties are divided. His uncle is among the rebels who occupy the General Post Office and other parts of the city. Dublin’s streets are destroyed and business comes to a halt. In an attempt to find food for his family, Jimmy crosses the city, avoiding the shooting, weaving through the army patrols, hoping to make it home before curfew. But his quest is not easy and danger threatens at every corner.
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The war that rages in Europe seems far away and glorious to young Jimmy Conway. His father, like many of Ireland’s men, has joined the British army. Food is scarce and illness is rampant in the slums of Dublin, and Jimmy’s family must rely on Da’s stipend to see them through. On a sunny Monday morning after Easter in 1916, the war comes to Dublin when rebel forces fire upon and occupy the post office. With his sister ill at home and his Uncle Mick fighting with the rebels, it is up to Jimmy to brave the gunfire and mayhem on the city streets to find food. Danger is his constant companion, but Jimmy discovers that help comes from many sources–the rebels, sympathetic British soldiers, and a kindly tramp. Jimmy finds his loyalties divided as the rightness and wrongness of each side blurs with every gun that fires and soldier that falls. This gripping tale of one boy’s struggle to survive and his emotional journey toward understanding the complexities of war, is vividly written. An award winning title in Ireland, it should be eagerly embraced by those who seek a solid, well-told story in which excitement and suspense fill every page. Readers will hold their breath in anticipation of Jimmy’s survival in a city turned upside down. 1999 (orig. 1996), The O’Brien Press,
Based on a historic event, this novel tells a riveting tale. Twelve-year-old Jimmy Conway tries to picture war as his father sees it. But during WW I, there are conflicting loyalties for the Irish. The rebels, seeking to gain their country’s freedom, go to war against the British on Jimmy’s own street. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s father is among British troops fighting against Germany. When fighting breaks out in Dublin, Jimmy leaves his home in an attempt to find food for his mother and two sisters. During his travels, which take the young lad straight to the heart of the fighting, Jimmy meets people who are bloodthirsty, and he also meets kind and generous people. Jimmy must also confront his own conflicting feelings about fighting and war. In his country’s search for freedom, who is right and who is wrong? How far will people be willing to go to attain what they think is right? An excellent inclusion for libraries or classroom reading. Whelan pulls readers into the quandary that is Ireland’s 20th-century history with full, realistic characters and vivid scenes of Dublin at war. KLIATT Codes: J*-Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 1996, Independent Publishers Group/The O’Brien Press, 167p, 20cm, $7.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Elsie Jacobs; Teacher & Libn., Kalispell, MT, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)