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We Remember by Tarah, Teen Blogger


Amaryllis book cover

How would you feel if your only brother was sent off to a war? Disbelieving? Confused? Numb? Just ask Jimmy Staples, protagonist in the book Amaryllis by Craig Crist-Evans.

After he graduates, Frank Staples decides that the best way to get away from his drunken father is to go off and fight in Vietnam. He sends letters to his brother Jimmy every month or so that tell of his experiences in the jungle. Jimmy can’t help but remember when Frank was back home with him. The letters show a new side to Frank, the older brother that used to try to get Jimmy to smoke pot and hook him up with girls.

I think the book could have had more of a structured plot. It’s mostly made up of memories, but the last bit shows what’s going on currently in Jimmy’s life.

I think it’s interesting how there are three different things in the book: letters from Frank, memories that the letters trigger in Jimmy’s mind, and current events. The combination of those three things is what gives the book its texture.

Since the letters are sent every month or so, it’s easy to see how Frank changes. The changes aren’t too sudden, but if you compare the first letter to the last you’d definitely notice differences in his behavior. His first letters complain about the climate and such. The letters near the end talk more about the war that’s going on inside his head and about how he’s afraid to come home.

The ending is dramatic, and the way it ends leaves a few questions floating around in my head. I think it ends nicely though: it reminds me of real life, where not everything turns out perfectly and not all problems are solved.

I would recommend this book to people who prefer to read stories that don’t offer immunity to the characters in them.


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