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Home Front Girl
Cover of Home Front Girl
Home Front Girl
A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America
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Kept from the early 1930s through the mid-1940s by a young Chicagoan, this diary provides a fascinating, detailed record of the life of an astute and witty teenage girl during the Great Depression and...
Kept from the early 1930s through the mid-1940s by a young Chicagoan, this diary provides a fascinating, detailed record of the life of an astute and witty teenage girl during the Great Depression and...
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Description-

  • Kept from the early 1930s through the mid-1940s by a young Chicagoan, this diary provides a fascinating, detailed record of the life of an astute and witty teenage girl during the Great Depression and the lead-up to World War II. The only daughter of a working-class Swedish immigrant and his wife, this everyday girl describes her life growing up in the city—from pining for handsome boys in ROTC uniforms and bus trips between the Art Institute and her home to her love of Lake Michigan and, later, her campus life at the University of Chicago. Along the way she ruminates about the daily headlines and major touchstones of the era: the Lindbergh kidnapping, FDR on the radio, Goodbye Mr. Chips and Citizen Kane, Garbo, Churchill, Hitler, war work, and Red Cross meetings. Poems, doodles, and drawings of the latest dress, outfit, or haircut accompany the entries. The diary is an entertaining and delightful read as well as a vivid account of a real American girl's lived experiences.

About the Author-

  • Joan Wehlen Morrison was adjunct professor of history at the New School for Social Research and the coauthor and editor of American Mosaic: The Immigrant Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It and From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It. Susan Signe Morrison is a professor of English literature at Texas State University–San Marcos and the author of two books on the Middle Ages. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 22, 2012
    This contemplative and often entertaining collection of journal entries, poems, clippings, and sketches by the late Morrison, edited by her daughter, spans the tumultuous years between 1937 and 1943, which took Morrison from age 14 to 20, and took the world from the Great Depression into WWII. Morrison’s parents were Swedish immigrants who settled comfortably in Chicago, and Morrison details her school day concerns and studies, exploring the city, her crushes on boys, attending the University of Chicago, and her thoughts on religion, books, films, and more. She also comments on the increasingly dramatic news of the day, from the Hindenburg crash (“The Herald Examiner said 100 people were killed, but as it’s a Hearst paper, 50 is a safer guess”) to Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the war (“Well, Baby, it’s come, what we always knew would come”). Her sensitivity to and exuberance about events large and small is contagious, though her poetic tendencies are tempered by her doubts, intellect, sarcasm, and savvy. Witnessing Morrison mature as a woman and a writer is invigorating and memorable. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)■

  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2012
    Chicago schoolgirl Joan Wehlen was known for her writing skills--quite correctly, as her always-entertaining 1937-1942 diary proves. Fourteen when she began recording her thoughts and day-to-day activities in her diary, Joan had an eye for detail and an intelligent sense of the importance of events that were occurring in the world around her. Her entries, while often funny and frequently self-deprecating, presage the inevitably coming war: "We are no different: every generation has been burdened with war....It is just that this is my generation." Fear of the impending war is a common theme in her life; it haunts Joan's dreams. But in spite of those concerns, she remains upbeat and enthusiastic. The diary reveals her amusement at wearing "a horrid but glamorous" color of lipstick, mild flirtations with "B.B.B. in B.," the "Beautiful Blue-eyed Boy in Biology," and her efforts to manage homework at the kitchen table. She tries to sort out her feelings on religion and the inevitability of death but chuckles over repeatedly counting the steps--"One-two-three-four, one-two-one-two"--during an awkward dance. In sum, readers will likely be surprised by just how much like them Joan is, in spite of her having written her work 75 years ago. A fine, insightful and sometimes moving journal composed by a wholly likable young woman--better than fiction. (period photographs, editor's note) (Nonfiction. 11-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2012

    Gr 7 Up-World War II is not the focus of this book. Instead, what Morrison presents is social commentary on the times. Her diary entries span the years 1937-1943, from the time the author was 14 until she was 20, and reflect her home, school, and social life with a bit of news thrown in. Her original drawings, photographs, and newspaper clippings (and transcripts) add interesting and authentic content. Readers will find young Joan to be intelligent, but at times flighty, inspiring yet also boring, humble and often quite proud-a normal teenager. However, today's teens might find it hard to relate to her life and find the vernacular of the era difficult to follow. Footnotes explain unfamiliar vocabulary and people, but also interrupt the flow of the text. This posthumous publication was compiled and edited by the author's daughter and is a good primary source to complement an American history textbook; it might also be enjoyed by readers who like historical diaries of real people.-Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Richard Peck, author of Fair Weather "A Chicago teenager's journal–riveting and real–recalls an era when adolescence was a preparation for adult life."
  • better than fiction."  —Kirkus "A fine, insightful and sometimes moving journal composed by a wholly likable young woman

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Home Front Girl
Home Front Girl
A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America
Joan Wehlen Morrison
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A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America
Joan Wehlen Morrison
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