25 May, 2012

When We Were Two

Title: When We Were Two

Author: Robert Newton
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book - library

From Goodreads: Dan had to go, He felt he had no choice, but leaving home was never going to be easy .
Dan and his brother Eddie take off for the coast, in search of their lost mother, in search of a better life . . . but it's a long road they face and Dan must use all his wits to get them there in one piece.
When they are taken under the wings of a group of would-be soldiers marching over the mountains to join up for the Great War, Dan and Eddie's journey becomes something quite unexpected. The experiences they share will shape their future beyond recognition.
This extraordinary rite of passage is a powerful, heart-rending story – Robert Newton at his very best.
What I thought: This is the sixth and final  book from the The Children's Book Council of Australia Older Reader's Short list.
I've enjoyed reading all of the short listed books this year, and this final one is also worthy of being on the list. Robert Newton drew a perfect picture of Australia during the early stages of World War 1. The feel of the small towns Dan and Eddie passed through and the picture of the road and landscape in between was very clear in my head. Rather interestingly, this is the second book I've read recently where the one brother feels guilty for an almost drowning of the other brother - the other being in Cloudstreet. Invariably this lead to comparisons and thoughts of whether Newton was influnenced by Tim Winton or whether it is pure coincidence. Either way the outcome in the end was different.
Like Winton, however, Newton has a talent for producing characters that are so clearly and obviously Australian. You can see the laid back nature, hear the drawl in the voice, feel the sun warmed skin as they shake your hand. While not my favourite on the list, When We Were Two was a great read.

Challenges: Aussie Author Challenge