But when Mussolini declared war on Britain that France on June 10, 1940, things all over Italy begin to change. First, all the Italian men and eldest sons were drafted into the army. For the Guazzelli family, that meant Cesar, followed by Alcide, who is sent to the Russian Front; meanwhile, for the eldest girls, it meant working away from home, either as cooks for other people, or for Eleonora, working in an orphanage.
At first, Bruna says, most Italians supported Mussolini and his alliance with Adolf Hitler, but as rationing, separation and hardship begin to take their toll on the home front, and after learning that even the Italian army fighting for Mussolini is so poorly supplied as the war escalates, people begin to turn against him. In September, 1943, Mussolini is removed from power and Italy forms a new alliance with the Allies.
These are major events, but Bruna and the rest of the people of Eglio still remain relatively isolated from the fighting in Italy and the rest of Europe, mainly because Eglio is a far removed mountain village, so no one really expects anything to happen there.
|Elio, Northern Tuscany, Italy|
War in My Town is a fictionalized version of author E. Graziani's mother Bruna's true story. It is told in the first person by the young Bruna, as she recounts the events that impacted her family and her neighbors between 1940 and 1945.
Bruna's personal story is emotional and compelling, but as the title indicates, it is really more about her town and the people who lived there. That being said, I am sorry to say I found the writing style to be very dry and it was hard to stay focused. I also found the chronology of historical events to be confusing at times and found myself having to backtrack a lot.
Despite that, I would still recommend this book simply because there aren't many narratives about life in Italy during WWII and since War in My Town is based on actual experience, it gives a more realistic picture of what life was like then.
This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley