Reviews for Soldier Doll
Kirkus Reviews 2014 February #2
A small wooden doll links tales of wartime tragedy and tenderness across the 20th century and into the 21st. As told in flashbacks within a present-tense frame story, the doll is first given as a keepsake to a British Tommy by his sweetheart, Meg, in 1918. When he is killed at Ypres, a Jewish German soldier finds it, passing it decades later to a child in Terezín. Years after, the American son of a Prague war orphan carries it to Vietnam. He gives it to a village child, and she, to her Canadian son—who marches off to Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, leaving it behind to be found in a Toronto yard sale in 2007 by Elizabeth, teenage daughter of an engineer about to depart for Afghanistan. In each era, the figurine's owners, family, friends and adversaries come across as distinct characters, with well-defined lives and motives. Along with penetrating insights into the feelings of those who went to fight, stayed behind or just became victims of circumstance, Gold supplies enough historical background to give readers an understanding of the complex events and rationales that drove each war. Some of the violence is joltingly explicit, and ultimately, Elizabeth has a devastating loss of her own to suffer, but her involvement with the doll leads to a final scene of both resolution and comfort. A memorable debut, both timely and universal in its themes. (Fiction. 11-14) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
VOYA Reviews 2014 April
While her mom and dad are busy setting up house, having just moved from Vancouver to Toronto, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth finds an old soldier doll at a garage sale that would be perfect for her dad's birthday, particularly as he will soon deploy to Afghanistan. These chapters are enriched with the family's lively banter and anchored in details of life in 2007. As the moving in continues, Elizabeth and her dad hunt for more information about the doll. Gold links these contemporary chapters with the historic path taken by the soldier doll starting Devon, England, in 1918 where a carpenter carved it for his daughter after her mother died, and continuing through historic settings in 1939 Berlin, Germany; Terezin, Czechoslovakia in 1944; Da Nang Vietnam in 1970; Toronto, Canada starting on September 11, 2001; and finally to London, England in 2007. The spiraling story lines weave together easily with just enough history to keep readers interested and just enough of the contemporary to keep them anchored in a familiar setting. Many discussions between families in all the settings help the reader to understand that war is never an easy decision and the consequences are horrific. This book will appeal to both girls and boys and easily lead to thoughtful questions about what, if any, are the right reasons to go to war.--C.J. Bott 4Q 3P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.