You may be noticing a trend, I am.

Morpurgo’s book Private Peaceful is a brilliant, poignant novel on family during adversity. If you haven’t guessed from the cover it’s set in the First World War, but thats not where it starts. It starts with a young Tommo Peaceful being dragged by his older brother, Charlie, to his first day at school.

A memory I’m sure that everyone has, walking through the door of your new class to stand paralyzed in fear, a feeling portrayed perfectly by Morpurgo. Through his first days in school he is joined by Molly, who takes Tommo under her wing, soon becoming friends with both he and Charlie. The three become inseparable and they live their childhood in relative peace.

no-mans-land

Then comes the war. Morpurgo creates an image both beautiful and harsh, reminiscent of images from All Quiet on the Western Front. He crafts an identity of both hardship and friendship in a world ravaged by artillery and gunfire.

This is one of those books that I’ve read numerous times, my copy of it is literally held together with duct tape, that’s how many times I’ve read it. It’s become a sort of comfort read for me, being able to transport myself back to a time where life was far more simple. (And yes whilst typing that bit I realised how cliche it sounds, it’s true though).

Sam

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