Jackie's Reviews > Shooting the Moon

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell
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's review
Aug 08, 2009

really liked it
Read in August, 2009

Jamie Dexter, army brat, lives and breathes war and wishes she could go off to Vietnam. But, when her older brother, TJ, gets sent overseas, her idealized visions of fighting the enemy changes. Her brother sends her 'letters' in pictoral form. When a package arrives and out falls that little black canister with a gray lid, Jamie immerses herself in developing the film. At first they are pictures of happy things...pretty nurses, laughing GIs, and the phases of the moon. Then, they become more gruesome...bleeding men, stretchers filled with the wounded, yet the shooting the moon is never left out. During the long months of TJ's absense, she starts to see what TJ is trying to tell her in the pictures... and she sees brutality, horrors, and longing. Jamie volunteers at the Army base's rec center and strikes up an easy, familiar relationship with Pvt. Hollister, a young man who already lost a brother in Vietnam. Through their card games, honest talks, and view of her brother's pictures, Jamie sees a very different side to war and Vietnam, then the one she first imagined. And, when her beloved brother TJ, goes MIA, she sees her tough, strong father, Colonel Dexter, change. His strength remains, although it is a now a quiet strength. Jamie continues with TJ's mission, she shoots the moon every day, hoping that, even though a world apart, her brother is alive and is gazing at the same moon.

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