Bronwyn Parhad's Reviews > Mare's War

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
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Jun 24, 2010

it was amazing
Read in June, 2010

Octavia and Tali's parents make them take a road trip from their home in California to a reunion in Alabama, with their GRANDMOTHER. They try their best to get their parents to give up on this torturous summer activity, but to no avail. After all, Mare is over 80, drives a red coupe, smokes like a chimney and has a tale to tell. Mare was one of the first women to join the 688th African American Battalion of the Women's Army Corps. Mare's story is told in the "then" chapters, which alternate with Octavia's "now" chapters. The young girls slowly come to appreciate their straight-talking grandmother, as she slowly reveals her life in the Army during WWII. I found this little-known story of African American military women and their contribution to the War to be fascinating. I knew that the military, prior to President Truman, was segregated, but I put that as being the men. Octavia and Tali are alternately totally embarrassed by their grandmother and, by the end of the story, totally in awe of what she accomplished. Mare' story of fleeing her home because of her mother's alcoholism and endless number of men, the last of whom starts to sexually abuse Mare and her younger sister Fern, is stunning in its courage and sadness. I would give this book to middle teens, 14 and up, because of the suggested molestation.
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