All Manner of Things

Revell. Jun. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9780800736347. $29.99; pap. ISBN 9780800735692. $15.99ebk. ISBN 9781493417926. CF
“All he wanted was a normal family. It seemed such a small thing to want. And such a difficult thing to have,” 18-year-old Annie Jacobson muses about her younger brother Joel. Annie and Joel’s father left 12 years ago, too haunted by his memories of the Korean War to belong to a family unit. Her mother, Gloria, handles the duties of single mom admirably, but when Annie’s older brother Mike enlists in the army and gets sent to Vietnam, the whole family has to deal with old demons. Annie begins to grow up, working long hours in her cousin’s diner and watching the wider world encroach on her idyllic hometown. Finkbeiner (“Pearl Spence Dust Bowl” series) perfectly captures small-town 1960s Michigan, both its idealism and its brokenness. Annie’s voice draws in readers, and doesn’t let go in this gripping family drama about first loves, strong faith, racial equality, and a very unpopular war.
VERDICT This a must-have for historical fiction fans and book clubs. Finkbeiner joins authors Valerie Fraser Luesse and Lauren K. Denton in tackling tough topics with realistic characters and a gentle touch.

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