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I Had Seen Castles by Cynthia Rylant
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I Had Seen Castles (original 1993; edition 2004)

by Cynthia Rylant

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230850,307 (4.06)6
Member:jmisurek
Title:I Had Seen Castles
Authors:Cynthia Rylant
Info:Harcourt Paperbacks (2004), Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:YA lit

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I Had Seen Castles by Cynthia Rylant (1993)

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An intense novel framed like a memoir. Told in the first person by a WWII veteran, John Dante, the story is difficult to read at times and uplifting at other times.
The gung ho young boys who signed up to go to war - they did not know what they were in for.
John does not tell of all his years at battle, but he does relate a number of the more difficult experiences. ( )
  aimless22 | Jul 24, 2013 |
John Dante is a seventeen-year-old boy caught up in the throes of new love--and the dawn of the Second World War. His leaving, his fighting, and his homecoming encompass the main parts of the book, revealing a very human struggle in the midst of a global conflict.

I randomly recalled reading this book, specifically the very last lines, a few weeks ago, and I wanted to see if it lived up to the memories. It definitely does. Rylant has an amazing way of making an individual experience universal, of building incredible emotional resonance in a surprisingly small space--only about 20,000 words. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  DeweyEver | Apr 5, 2013 |
I can't remember where I heard about this one, probably the Maud list, but I had to request it through ILL. It was worth the wait. I'm a huge Rylant fan and have been ever since I read Gooseberry Park. This couldn't be more different, but it's exquisite.

The protagonist is an old man looking back on the little bit of time leading up to and encompassing WWII, which he fought in. The tone is removed but not flat, not unemotional but also not too immediate for comfort. The story is really a love story interwoven with the story of how war can sabotage the purest things, how even the bravest boys can die and how the innocent are maimed. I adored it, start to finish. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
This short, spare book tells the story of a patriotic, idealistic boy who is forever changed when sent to fight on the front lines of WWII. His struggle to find meaning and "normalcy" after the war ends and he returns home is haunting.

Curriculum: This a time when young service men and women are returning home from war struggling with many of the same issues as the protagonist of this book. John is eager to go off to war and do his duty, but his experiences at war and his struggles on his return make him consider the cost and the worth of the fighting. This is a very relevant topic for students today.

Rylant, C. (1993). I had seen castles. San Diego: Harcourt Brace. ( )
  AMQS | Jul 16, 2012 |
Chapter book, YA, Booklist
  rjholman | Aug 1, 2011 |
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Epigraph
No, what my heart will be is a tower.
And I will be right out on its rim:
nothing else will be there, only pain
and what can't be said, only the world.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
from "The Solitary Man"
Dedication
First words
Pittsburgh was darkness.
Quotations
Ginny was so exceptional ... and so extremely courageous in so cowardly a time. Cowardly in the sense that dissension of any kind, any questioning of the rightness of our declaring war, was simply not tolerated. Anyone against the war was, by association, against the young soldiers fighting it, and therefore without conscience. Protesters were beaten and abused. There could be no thinking for oneself. Not then.
I killed to keep from dying. I killed to protect the boys in my squad. the history books would eventually say that I killed for the ideals of human liberty. But the history books would be dead wrong.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152053123, Paperback)

John Dante is seventeen when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and he wants to fight for his country. But then he falls head over heels for Ginny Burton, who is against all war, and his beliefs are suddenly questioned. Rather than be judged a traitor or a coward, though, John enlists--a decision that changes his life forever.

Includes a reader's guide and an inverview with the author.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Now an old man, John is haunted by memories of enlisting to fight in World War II, a decision which forced him to face the horrors of war and changed his life forever.

(summary from another edition)

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