Hughes, Dean Home and Away; A World War II Christmas Story, 169 pgs. Shadow Mountain, 2015. $16.99. Language: PG (racial slurs); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG
Dennis Hayes is sixteen-years-old and struggling to understand his family, community, and the world. World War II is raging and his older brother is stationed overseas. Having his brother gone and the constant worry this brings to the Hayes family will make Christmas hard this year. Dennis longs to make sure Christmas is a happy holiday by providing a memorable gift for his hardworking mother while attempting to heal a difficult relationship with his father.
This book is predictable and trite, written as a profit driven vehicle to cash in on the sentimentality of Christmas. The problems of the Hayes family are presented as quite serious in the beginning of the story, yet are tidily solved a few chapters later. Readers should not waste their time when there are countless better offerings in both the Christmas and World War II genres.
MS, HS—Not Recommended AEB