The War That Saved My Life

Everything about this historical middle grade works, beginning with the title. Such an intriguing title it is, and the theme of how a war can save someone weaves delicately and warthatsavedmylifetruly through the novel. Never bogged down in historical detail, yet brought to life beautifully, The War that Saved My Life has a cast of lovable, grumpy characters.

Ten-year-old Ada was born with a club foot, and her mother (Mam) keeps her hidden away in their filthy London flat, emotionally and physically abusing her. When Ada teaches herself to walk, she escapes to Kent with her little brother among the children sent out of the city. The evacuees end up in various households around the village. Ada and Jamie end up with Susan, a woman who is in the midst of grieving the death of Becky, a friend (and  partner, the text implies). Ada, who has never been outside before, learns the world and the words for it in an entirely interesting way. She’s sure she’s unlovable, and her words and thoughts show this so well. As the three, Ada, Jamie and Susan, make a family together, they all grow and learn to see the world differently. As for Mam, the story line is tied up there too. All I’ll say is that the war saves them all, though some are saved better than others.

written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
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2 Responses to The War That Saved My Life

  1. Sam Juliano says:

    Love this book! Excellent review here!

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