Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tribute Books Presents "Back to Bataan" by Jerome Charyn Book Review

New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I will say something about this book that I often don't say about books--especially books that are this short.  This book honestly could not have been improved upon!  I absolutely loved it!  From the first page to the last, it was exactly what a "tween"/young adult historical fiction book should be.  The characters were well-developed, and the story was believable.  The characters had their flaws, and it made them seem that much more realistic.  There were no sex scenes (yay!) and no profanity (yay!).  Can you believe it?  Rarely do I find a book that is this well-written that does not include those less desirable features.

World War II is one of those periods of time that always fascinates me, but from a teacher's standpoint, students could care less.  They have heard about the Germans, and they have heard about the Japanese.  They know about the Holocaust, and they know about the bombs.  Who cares if people were killed?  Jerome Charyn has done something so that students will connect with ths time period.  He tells the story of the time period from the perspective of a boy (I love the fact that the main character is a boy--a good way to get boys reading since they often do not want to).  The book is short, and it is a quick read.  The boy, Jack, gets into mischief--pretty serious mischief at times.  The danger is real, but it is not too scary even for the younger readers.  My daughter, who is nine, would be able to read this book with no problem.  I think she would even be able to understand it.

So what more can I say?  Read this book!  It is worth the read, and I honestlly don't think there is any way you will regret the time spent.  It will enrich your understanding of WWII, and then you will want to share it with everyone you know!

I was sent a copy of ths book in exchange for my hoenst review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

ISBN: 9780985792206
ISBN: 9781476119076
Pages: 98
Release: July 1, 2012

Kindle buy link - $2.99

Nook buy link - $4.95
iBookstore buy link - $4.99
Google buy link - $3.79

Smashwords buy link - $4.99

PDF buy link - $4.95



  1. This book sounds really good! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

    - Ellie @ The Selkie Reads Stories

  2. Ruth, I can't thank you enough for your praise of Jerome's work. I'm delighted by how much you enjoyed his book and his writing style. Thanks for the stellar review!


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