Saturday, 14 December 2013
Review: Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am By Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis
Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am, Ben Bright makes a decision that not many people can understand: to volunteer to be a solider. When all of his friends are going to college, Ben has known that this is what he wants to do. I'm not a supporter of war, but I can appreciate his decision and his courage.
The book is quite short at just over 140 pages and is divided into "Before," "During" and "After" the incident where Ben loses his memory. The action moves quickly and the reader is spared the gory details. It is also interesting to note that as soon as Ben is injured, the protagonist becomes a minor character for the rest of the book. The story becomes about how his friends and family handle how Ben's decision to join the army and his resulting injuries from his time in Iraq have turned him into a shadow of the person he was before. It's quite heartbreaking.
Guilt, anger, fear, and hope are all working against Ben's family and friends as they attempt to cope with his condition. Arguably the decision to go to war and the risks associated are ones that will not only ruin your own life, but the lives of everyone around you. This is a story about a boy who made a very brave choice, but a choice that has devastating consequences.
The story ends on a hopeful note as Ben makes progress with his recovery, although the ending is rather abrupt. At the centre of all the devastation is Ben, and just as his near-death experience was the cause of a lot of dysfunction and despair, his recovery might allow for the damage to be repaired.
An interesting book, but the reader will have many unanswered questions at its conclusion. This YA novel is short, sweet, and to the point. It is an easy read and portrays the ugly realities of going to war.