Bicentennial fireworks burn the sky. Bob Seger growls from a transistor radio. And down by the river, girls line up on lawn chairs in pursuit of the perfect tan. Yet for ten-year-old Eli Book, the summer of 1976 is the one that threatened to tear his family apart. There is his distant mother; his traumatized Vietnam vet dad; his wild sister; his former warprotester aunt; and his tough yet troubled best friend, Edie, the only person with whom he can be himself. As tempers flare and his father’s nightmares rage, Eli watches from the sidelines, but soon even he cannot escape the current of conflict. From Silas House comes a tender look at the complexities of childhood and the realities of war — a quintessentially Southern novel filled with music, nostalgic detail, a deep respect for nature, and a powerful sense of place. - book jacket
Eli the Good is a beautifully crafted and compelling novel about love, war, and the meaning of family.
To me this book felt timeless, something you could read over and over again and still get something new out of it. It brought you back to your childhood and made you remember what it was like being a kid on the edge of discovering a complicated world. Eli had so much wisdom to tell you have to slow down, savor the words, and listen. It’s doesn’t matter if the setting is in 1976 or that the Vietnam war has long pasted, realistically the world has not changed; we are still fighting wars we cannot end, families are still families, and love is still love.
I loved how the book is set in the 70s because it was like taking a peak into what life might have been for my mom, who was sixteen (the same age as Josie) in 1976. I enjoyed the references to songs and artists like the “Rubber Band Man”, ABBA, David Cassidy, etc. (I’m actually quite familiar with 70s music because my sister listens to Kasey Kasen every Saturday morning.)
Since Eli is a country boy, he lives in small town, rides his bike, and likes trees. (Exactly how I grew up as well.) Because Eli loves trees, House incorporates the meaning of life into this story, something that is all too often forgotten.
House is a gifted writer and I wouldn’t be the least surprised if one day Eli House became a classic, in fact, I hope it does.
Overall, I highly encourage both teens and adults alike to read this earthy and touching American novel. You will never forget it.
~Silas House is the best-selling author of Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. He lives in eastern Kentucky with his two daughters and two dogs. This is his first book for young adults.~
|Pages: 295|Year Published: Aug. 2009|Publisher: Candlewick|
|Genre: Contemporary, historical fiction, family drama|
|Age Group: YA, ages 14+|Content: Some language and sensuality|
|Enjoyed It: 5/5|Content Rating: 4/5|Cover: 5/5|