by Julie HaleMay, 2007
This moving family drama is set in Arlington, Virginia, during the turbulent Vietnam era. The narrator, 19-year-old Iris Sunnaret, is caught in the middle of a family crisis when the war brings out conflicting loyalties in her loved ones. Iris and her three siblings Eddie, Perry and Angie were taken in by their Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Charlie after the loss of their parents. When Eddie and Perry volunteer for the war, they're supported by their aunt and uncle, but the rest of the family questions their decision, especially Angie, who opposes America's participation in the conflict and joins the protest movement. Everyone's perception of the war is altered after Eddie is killed in Vietnam and Perry disappears. To make matters worse, a soldier from the Sunnaret brothers' platoon pays the family a visit with the news that Perry is suspected of killing Eddie. Iris decides to find out for herself what happened to her brothers, and her quest leads to new and painful revelations about her splintered family. As Iris tries to bring her loved ones together, the rifts that separate them only seem to deepen. Pywell writes convincingly about the frictions and tensions experienced by this divided clan. This is a timely novel, at once artfully constructed and deeply provocative, full of rich details about an important epoch in America's history.