Review: Back to Bataan – Jerome Charyn
Jack Dalton has always been a lively little boy. He lives in New York City with his mother and has a fiancée he adores like there’s no tomorrow. Yet there’s something within his life that he misses the most. His father has died within the raging war between Europe and the Pacific. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, but no one will take a chance on an eleven-year-old little boy. Never-the-less, he’s determined to try and change things for the better.
When a school assignment turns his life upside-down, Jack isn’t sure as to what hit him. He now finds himself without a fiancée and everyone within his class now see him a tad too differently. He wants his old life back, yet he doesn’t have a clue as to how make things right again. Everything he does seems to backfire on him and Coco no longer wants anything to do with him. So much so, that she’s now engaged to one of his classmates.
Determined to make them pay for their injustice, Jack inadvertently sets a series of events into motion that will forever change his life and theirs. On the run because of what he’s done, he finds himself smack dab in the middle of a group of vagrants living at the park nearby. In Jack’s mind, this is a perfect way for him to remain incognito. No one will find him there and he can make the best of the situation while trying to figure out a way to make it to Bataan. Or so he thinks.
For awhile, everything is fine and dandy. He’s living the high life on his own with Leader and his little gang. Jack knows that he’ll eventually need to atone for his sins, but for now, he’s intent on enjoying the little freedom he now has. Soon, he’s forced to face the repercussions of the life he tried to leave behind. He knows he’ll need to make things right again if he’s to be happy with the lot he’s been dealt in life. Yet doing so is easier said than done. Never-the-less, he’s intent on trying to do just that, even if it takes him awhile in getting there.
While this is a short novel, it’s was delightfully engaging. A very quick read about a boy and his life within a 1943 New York City, it’s sure to garner the reader’s attention and keep it riveted to every page. The flow of the story is easy to follow and you’ll find yourself lost within the story in minutes. I found it very intriguing to learn about what life in the Big Apple was like back then. I think the author captured that aspect beautifully and look forward to re-reading the story again some time soon.
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.
About The Author:
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
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.
Connect With Him Online:
Back to Bataan Website: http://backtobataan.blogspot.com/
Back to Bataan GoodReads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13613896-back-to-bataan