Author: Rich Wallace
Publisher: Viking, 2011
Genre: Children’s/Middle Readers
Source: From the publisher for the TLC Book Tour
My Rating: C+
It’s the summer of 1969. We’ve just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he’ll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves. (From the publisher)
War and Watermelon read like a daily journal. Each chapter was another day. The days/chapters were filled with the activities of a twelve-year-old boy about to start seventh grade. He lived in a suburban town so he had free rein to roam around quite a bit. However, most of his days were filled with trips to the pool, football practice, or listening to his AM-only radio.
The chapter I enjoyed the most was the trip to upstate-New York to see a concert, which turnws out to be the famous Woodstock. They went for just the first night. So many people came that there was no place to park other than in the midst of all the other traffic on the highway. People abandoned their cars and walked for miles to get in. In spite of the rain and mud, Brody, his brother, and two friends had an amazing time. They loved Joan Baez who closed the show that night.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with the story. For me, it didn’t go anywhere. It’s probably just me. I think War and Watermelon would be a good story for grandfathers and their grandsons. It would be a great way for grandsons to understand what life was like in 1969.
Actually, granddaughters might enjoy it too. War and Watermelon would make a nice nostalgic trip for those of you who have fond memories of this era.