Carry Me Home: A Novel

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Earnestly narrated by brain-damaged 16-year-old Earl "Earwig" Gunderman ("Ma said that after the fever was gone, my brain was like meat cooked too long, and it just fell apart whenever I tried to learn something new"), Kring's heartfelt debut explores the effects of WWII on a smalltown Wisconsin family. Earwig, whose intellectual difficulties are balanced by his sharp emotional intelligence, gets a significant assist in the growing-up process from his older brother, Jimmy. But after enlisting in the National Guard on a drunken whim, Jimmy is shipped out with one of the first ill-equipped units to be sent to the Philippines. When his unit is overrun in Bataan, his fate is assumed to be grim. At home, Earwig sighs about rationing, discovers a dark family secret and hopes for Jimmy's safe return. And Jimmy does come home, but, shell-shocked after years as a POW, he drowns his sorrows in drink. It takes Earwig's devotion and a tender new relationship with young widow Eva Leigh to turn him around. Kring's narrative is familiar at first, but hits its stride after Jimmy's homecoming, capturing family tensions and the divisive town dynamics when Jimmy and his fellow soldiers criticize the government for abandoning them in Bataan. Strong characters, a clear community portrait and a memorable protagonist whose poignant fumblings cloak an innocent wisdom demonstrate Kring's promise.

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (December 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385338139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385338134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

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