Stay where you are & then leave by John Boyne : a powerful story of war and its impact @john_boyne @RHNZ

Posted: September 29, 2013 in Intermediate, Primary School
Tags: , , , ,

Stay where you are & then leave
By John Boyne

boyne

I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book from the Random House Road Show and being a fan of John Boyne’s work I devoured this. I recall when John Boyne was here in Christchurch some years ago to promote his book The boy in striped pyjamas that when I lined up to get my copy signed, I told him how cross I was at such a tragic ending. We discussed it briefly (the line was long) and I know there could not have been any other ending. The point of war is tragic.
Boyne makes a similar point in his latest novel but on a different level. Here, five year old Alfie knows there is a war. His father, after all has signed up willingly to fight and is on a secret mission hence the lack of contact. Letters arrived from his father in the trenches when war first started but then they stopped. War was supposed to be over by Christmas but no-one ever said “which Christmas”. Four years on and war is still going but still no letters. A sequence of coincidences prove too much for Alfie and he begins his own journey to find out about his father.
This is a moving, poignant tale of war and its impact on family life. Boyne weaves in different points of view from the people living in Damley Road where Alfie Summerfield lives. This book moves along subtley and then hits you with a punch that leaves you thinking about Alfie and his family, long after you have finished reading.
Oliver Jeffers has done a brilliant job on the cover of this book. So real in a retro way. Love it!

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