Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Should Call My Grandmother: A Review of Mare's War

Mare's War
Tanita Davis

"Meet Mare, a grandmother with flair and a fascinating past." Octavia and Tali are dreading the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the summer. After all, Mare isn't your typical grandmother. She drives a red sports car, wears stiletto shoes, flippy wigs, and push-up bras, and insists that she's too young to be called Grandma. But somewhere on the road, Octavia and Tali discover there's more to Mare than what you see. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American battalion of the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC member and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day.


I really enjoyed this book! The characters were totally relatable and Mare is the coolest grandmother ever (don't call her that though!) Reading this book made me think of my grandmother and how I haven't talked to her in forever. So I'm going to call her today! The title of this post is a reminder that grandparents need love so call 'em up or hang out with them! They may actually have some cool/funny/interesting stories to share. That's one thing I learned from this book. You presume your grandparents haven't really lived life, they're just old. But they have stories, too, and while they may not be as interesting as Mare's (or may be even more interesting!), you never know unless you ask. So call/hang and ask away!

First, Mare. I wish my grandmother was like her. It would be so cool to have a grandmother who wears stilletos, drives fast, has an interesting past, is sassy and stubborn. She sounds like quite a character and a lot of fun to be around. She's very laid-back, go with the flow which I think is nice. Although I wouldn't be thrilled if my grandmothers wore push-up bras and smoked. She was my favorite character in the whole book (although I wished she would have danced and hung out with more guys!). She was so brave and hardworking! Which leads me to the next thing...
The historical aspect of the book was really enlightening. Before reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about the role of African American men and women in WWII (except from what I'd seen in "Miracle of St. Anna" which was more fiction than fact). The information was really interesting and I admired the black men and women who fought for the U.S. even though, the U.S. wasn't very appreciative. It would have been really hard for me to go to Paris, help fight to protect the U.S., see how kind and non-discriminatory the French people were and then go home. I probably would have stayed in Paris. The work of the WAC (Women's Army Corps) is something I intend on reading more about. Also, I'm going to find some WWII movies about black soldiers (I think Denzel was in one :D).

I also liked both sisters, Tali and Octavia. They were both a little annoying sometimes. Octavia because she was so timid, Tali because she was so rude and whiny. But I sympathized with Octavia's struggle with driving (I'm learning to drive too. And it's scary fun!). And I would be mad like Tali if I couldn't listen to my music. I also like how Tali was stubborn and didn't take no mess from anybody, like Mare.

The book was well written and held your attention. I couldn't put it down. I especially like how it alternated from WWII to the present day. Although sometimes I was so absorbed in the WWII stories, that I wanted to just skip the now chapters (but don't cuz those are good chapters too!)

If you like historical or realistic fiction, this is a must read! Actually I think everyone should read this because we African American teens need to know all aspects of our history. I would say high schoolers and middle schoolers could and should read this book.
Miss Attitude says she's sarcastic, caring, slightly crazy teenager. She loves to read, listen to music, dance and have fun. She's been reading seriously since second grade. Proud to be black. Miss A is one of Color Online's CORA girls. They rock. You'll hear more about them. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out Miss A's blog, young, black, a reader.


Anonymous said...

Very insightful review. Well Done. I'll be posting it on @LatinoBookNews all day today. Thank you for allowing me to read your review. going to your site too. Fantastic!
Jo Ann Hernandez
BronzeWord Latino Authors

Shalonda said...

That was a fantastic review. I love how Miss Attitude was able to connect the book to her own life.

Miss A, I look forward to reading your future posts and am now a follower of your blog. Keep up the great work!

tea said...

Really good book and great review.

Super Hussy said...

What a great review. I love how you interspersed your life and current events within the article. I also applaud you for wanting to know more about African American history. It's great that this book sparked your interest.

I am going to re-post this on my website, SuperHussy.com with a link to your blog too. I think other young women can learn a lot from you.

Ali said...

I love that the book inspired you to get in touch with your grandmother!

MissAttitude said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words!I'm so glad you liked the review, my hope is that it inspires everyone to get a copy of the book. Thank Tanita Davis for writing such a good book :)

tanita davis said...

Thanks again for sharing the love, guys! I'm really grateful for everyone who is reposting, this is a review I really appreciate.

MoziEsmé said...

Love the review! Sounds like the book has some great characters and is both interesting and educational...

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

It really helps when I hear teens rave about a book. Now matter how "in touch" I think I am, I never really know how they feel about a book, unless they say. Thanks for highlighting Ms. A!