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Fireweed by Jill Paton Walsh
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Fireweed (original 1969; edition 1988)

by Jill Paton Walsh (Author)

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1817150,251 (4.07)1 / 26
Teenagers Bill and Julie meet during a London blitz.
Member:STCSLibrary
Title:Fireweed
Authors:Jill Paton Walsh (Author)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (1988), 160 pages
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Fireweed by Jill Paton Walsh (1969)

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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A quick but good read and a different view of life in London during the blitz. A great wrap up to the story. ( )
  SteveMcI | Jul 2, 2021 |
My memory of the scene in which they sleep together by zipping their coats together (actually, they sleep in one coat, big enough to close around both of them) has stayed with me all these years. Ending is much less satisfying than I remember. When Julie ends up in hospital and brother/mother imply something inappropriate may have happened between them, Julie denies their relationship has any meaning and Bill rushes out of the room, never to see Julie again. A little melodramatic. But an interesting read up to that point. A good suggestion for YAs that enjoyed From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler? ( )
  klandring | Nov 8, 2020 |
This short bittersweet novel from 1969 is about two runaway evacuees living on the streets of London during the Blitz. It’s very vivid, particularly the details about wartime London -- but there’s also a thread of ambiguity, because the narrator is looking back on a time he doesn’t fully remember and didn’t always understand. In the end, that ambiguity becomes a bit unsatisfying, yet I like the way the story allows one to fill in some of the gaps for oneself.

I wish I had discovered this when I was thirteen or so, because I think I would have appreciated it even more then -- been fascinated by the experience of fending for oneself, with having independence and therefore having responsibility.

We saw London getting knocked apart. We knew where there was ruin, and we knew that it wasn’t all in the papers. We saw a lot of terrible things. But the strangest thing, in a way, was the way things were the same. It sounds silly to say that the oddest thing was that the leaves turned gold, and fell off, while Hitler’s bombers filled the sky; of course they would, and they did. But in all that disruption, in the the midst of so much destruction, when everyone’s life was changed, and we were alone, standing on our own feet for the first time, looking after ourselves, familiar things seemed as exotic and unlikely as hothouse flowers. ( )
  Herenya | Sep 24, 2020 |
After a slowish start, this story of two young people who have, for different reasons, fled the arrangements their families have made for them during the blitz in WWII London. The idyll of two unsupervised teens ("Yet all around us death and ruin rained out if the sky. We saw it everywhere, and we were afraid like everybody else, and yet it cast no shadow in our hearts.") is short-lived. They each make decisions that change the course of their lives and, especially that of a young child orphaned by a bomb near the basement where they hide.

Walsh evokes the smells and sights and shocks of wartime London all the while developing the characters and providing unpredictable but believable plot twists.

I will recommend this title to my readers of WWII fiction. It's a worthy, intimate balance to battle stories and triumphant tales of heroes. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
After a slowish start, this story of two young people who have, for different reasons, fled the arrangements their families have made for them during the blitz in WWII London. The idyll of two unsupervised teens ("Yet all around us death and ruin rained out if the sky. We saw it everywhere, and we were afraid like everybody else, and yet it cast no shadow in our hearts.") is short-lived. They each make decisions that change the course of their lives and, especially that of a young child orphaned by a bomb near the basement where they hide.

Walsh evokes the smells and sights and shocks of wartime London all the while developing the characters and providing unpredictable but believable plot twists.

I will recommend this title to my readers of WWII fiction. It's a worthy, intimate balance to battle stories and triumphant tales of heroes. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Teenagers Bill and Julie meet during a London blitz.

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Bill and Julie meet in war-torn London, each having escaped from evacuation and determined now to survive without adult help. Each can fill the other's needs; Julie has money but cannot manage on her own, while Bill has no money but a stronger instinct for survival.
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