letter Essay #4 – The War That Saved My Life.

Dear Blog,


Recently, I finished the book The War That Saved My Life. It is a 316-page realistic fiction book by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This book was a New York Times best-selling and a Newbery honor book. She is known for making many other extraordinary books. This book is about a sister, Ada, and her brother, Jamie, who has been treated terribly by their mother and escape to someone during World War II. Ada treated terribly because she has clubfoot which could have been solved when she was a baby but her mother didn’t want to fix it. This book takes you on a heart-wrenching journey.

It was recommended to me by Miss Carlson in the library. I asked her if she had any recommendations and she chose this one for me. It has turned out to be one of my favorite books and I would seriously consider reading it over and over again. When she recommended me this book I was quite skeptical because the front cover was a girl and a horse. As I soon came to find out, this cover showed extreme symbolism to the story.

Ada has longed all of her life to be free and go outside. She has been wanting to go outside since she was a little baby, but her mom won’t let her go outside because she has clubfoot. Her mom is under the belief that just because she has clubfoot she is a “ cripple”  and nobody will want to see her. She is very embarrassed because of her daughter and only lets her sit by the window in her small flat. The mother is very brutal and will hit her if she catches her talking to somebody outside. One thing that Ada hates the most is the sink. The sink is a place where she is sent if she is bad, it is hot and wet, filled with bugs and cramped. Her little brother Jaime, is allowed to go outside because he is not “crippled”. During the midst of World War II, the adults in London were sending their kids away to the countryside where they would be safe from bombs. Their mom wanted to send only Jaime away because she didn’t want Ada out in public. Early in the morning while her mom was still sleeping Ada Jamie escaped. She had been learning how to walk but her foot was still very weak so she had to crawl to the train station. Once I was at the train station she was found by a teacher who would find her and Jamie a family in the countryside.

They come to find a lady named Susan who is very lonely because her best friend had recently passed away and she never married. Another problem is Ada is not used to the world. Because she has never left her house she does not understand many things and knows many words. It is a constant struggle because she is not used to the outside life. One problem she has is she gets panic attacks. She gets them because her mom always told her that she was worthless and not meant to be anything. Her panic attacks were mostly triggered when she is given nice clothes because it makes her feel like she shouldn’t be wearing them because of what her mom said. Throughout the book, you can see Ada go through many hard times because she feels like she is worthless. This view is changed when Ada has multiple instances that boost her confidence. One of those things are crutches, they allow her to walk and make her feel like she can do things for herself.

The last major conflict also has to do with her mom. Ada is taken to a doctor who tells her that they can fix her foot but they need to get the okay from Ada’s mom. Ada’s mom does not want to let her get the surgery because it will boost her confidence and her mom wants her to be a cripple. Ada has come to love Susan and when her mom comes to take her back she does not want to go so she is severely punished. Ada has a heartfelt talk with her mom where she finds out that her mom never wanted her and her mom agrees to let her leave. This hurts her on the inside but eventually, she becomes all right with it because she can be with Susan.

I was surprised when Ada escaped from her mom to go to the countryside because she is normally very afraid and just does what her mom says. [“None of your sass,” she said. Her mouth Twisted into the smile that made my insides clench. “You can’t leave. You never will. You’re stuck here, right here in this room, bombs or no.”]{chapter 2 pg 15} This is one of the main reasons I was surprised, because her mom made it very clear, and as I said, she almost always listens to her.

I was satisfied when at the end of the book Ada got to live with Susan after all. Because Ada was hated by her mom she was not used to hugs and kisses so this quote is extremely important and symbolic for the book. “A strange and unfamiliar feeling ran through me. It felt like the ocean, like sunlight, like horses. Like love. I searched my mind and found the name for it. Joy.” {pg 316} This quote is extremely symbolic because it says it felt like the ocean, like sunlight, like horses. The ocean is something that I had never seen before she went to the countryside she found it when she was riding on her horse, which symbolizes new adventures. The sun is something that she always longed for while she was trapped in the darkness of her flat. This quote was at the end of the book when her mom took her back and she was in London.  A bomb fell and she was found shortly after by Susan. I think that this is my favorite part of the book because it really showed how happy Ada and her brother Jamie was, it made me feel extremely happy too.

lastly, I was moved when Ada said, “my foot is a long way from my brain.” This all happened when she was at the top of the hill looking over the ocean and noticed a strange man pulling up on the beaches which people were not allowed to be on. She had been told that if she saw anything suspicious to go report it to the police. when she got here the officer did not take her seriously so she said, ” my foot is a long way from my brain.”  The officer ended up getting his senior officer who found the man and arrested him because he was indeed a spy. This was one of the moments that gave her confidence and made her feel like a real person. I really liked how the author wrote this because it shows that she was firm and quick thinking. I really liked how it changed the tone of the story and influence the rest of the book.

Overall this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I would rate it a 9.5 out of 10. I would recommend it to anybody.


GianThomas Zuanelli

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