Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Review: Looking at the Moon
Author: Kit Pearson
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: June 1st, 1991
Genre: Junior Fiction, Historical Fiction
It’s been three years since Norah and Gavin moved from England to Canada to live with the Ogilvie’s during the war. Now it’s 1943 and though things have turned around for the Allies, no one knows when the war is going to end. While there are a lot of bad things about leaving England, like missing her family, the best thing is being able to spend summers at the Ogilvie’s summerhouse in Muskoka. At thirteen, Norah seems to be stuck in-between: not quite a child or a teen-ager, and not quite a member of the Ogilvie’s family. All of her cousins seem to be obsessed with boys, but Norah can’t relate to them. That is, until she meets one of the Ogilvie cousins, Andrew. Andrew is nineteen and secretly doesn’t want to enlist in the war. As Norah spends the summer in love for the first time, she is troubled by the uncertainty of being a war guest. Will she spend next summer in Canada or home in England? Norah has changed so much in the last three years, will her family even recognise her when she comes home? No matter what, whenever Norah looks at the moon she will think of that summer and Andrew.
This is the second book in Kit Pearson’s Guests of War series. It has been three years since The Sky Is Falling, and a fair bit has changed. While Norah initially quarreled with Aunt Florence, they have found a way to get along. Although Norah at first ignored Gavin, she has done her best to look after him. However, in some ways Norah is still a child. She is instantly jealous of one of the cousins coming to join them at the cottage, and feels left out when everyone recalls old memories of him. While she reacts immaturely to Andrew’s presence, Norah soon comes to feel about Andrew in a way she’s never felt about another boy before. A good amount of the book focuses on Norah mooning over Andrew, who is 6 years her senior, so for that reason I preferred the first book. However, in this book we get to see more of other aspects of the war. Andrew is grappling with whether he should enlist in the war or not and we get to see more of the complexities of war. When Norah was ten, she saw war in black and white terms. Now she begins to see that things are more complicated. People who don’t enlist aren’t simply cowards and the German prisoners of war she sees look like ordinary people. The complications of being a guest of war are still there: what will happen when Norah and Gavin have to leave? For Gavin, Canada is his home. While I enjoyed this book more when I first read it when I was ten, I still thought it was a great book for younger readers who are interested in history. This well written coming of age story set during World War II made me very excited to continue with the series.