Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eli the Good by Silas House

In 1976, Eli Book is a ten year old kid who lives in the beautiful countryside and enjoys life.  He loves to write, play with his best friend Edie, and be in the woods with the trees.  If only life were this easy, though.  This book is a reflection on a summer in Eli's life in which life was really simple but also completely complicated at the same time.  Eli's father is a Vietnam veteran and has problems and flashbacks related to the war.  Eli wants to understand about this but his father won't talk to him about it at all.  Eli decides to go about finding out about his father's time in the war on his own.  Edie is a close friend for Eli, but even this simple relationship is complicated when Edie announces that he parents are getting divorced.  Eli's sixteen-year-old sister, Josie begins acting differently and questioning everything.  His crazy war-protesting aunt, Nell, shows up to live with them for the summer.  All these people are dealing with so much and Eli narrates the story of a family struggling to be together and stay together even during rough times.  The book is told by the grown-up Eli.  He gives insights into the summer that he can only have by looking back.  I liked this book ok.  It was interesting to read about the father's time in Vietnam, and I could identify with Eli when he wanted to know about his parents but couldn't find a way to ask.  I appreciated the portrait of this family and Eli's reflection but kept waiting for more. 

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