Review: Private Peaceful


◆ Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
◆ Read November 2012
◆ English Edition
◆ 
❝ They've gone now, and I'm alone at last. I have the whole night ahead of me, and I won't waste a single moment of it . . . I want tonight to be long, as long as my life . . ." For young Private Peaceful, looking back over his childhood while he is on night watch in the battlefields of the First World War, his memories are full of family life deep in the countryside: his mother, Charlie, Big Joe, and Molly -- the love of his life. Too young to be enlisted, Thomas has followed his brother to war and now, every moment he spends thinking about his life, means another moment closer to danger ❞
Private Peaceful is a story said to be suitable for children aswell as grown-ups, which is without a doubt a true statement. This is the second book I've read by Michael Morpurgo - the first being War Horse - and I continue to be surprised by his ability to write stories that appeal to both young and old. Such was the case with War Horse, and it is with this one aswell.

There are countless books about WWI which makes it harder for writers to produce a story worth reading that is neither predictable nor repetitive. Private Peaceful is special because of its chronology: the main character - also narrator - recounts childhood memories up to his current moment in the middle of war. It is also special because Morpurgo uses such simple words (they have to be understood by children after all), yet still manages to make sentences so endearing, touching and sad. It is unpredictable because the conclusion is like a blow in the face, far from anything you have conjured up in your head. You might even shed a few or many tears, I know I did.

One thing I did not like was that some scenes felt out of place and did not contribute to the story as a whole. They seemed pointless and made me want to skip through them. 

However, the story touches your heart and makes you remember it for a long time. I'd recommend it to young and old because there will always be something you can find in the book that appeals to you no matter your age.

4 stars because:
✓ Unexpected conclusion
✓ Interesting chronology
✓ Touching story
✗ Pointless/out of place scenes
 

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