ABE IN ARMS REVIEWS
International Rescue Committee: “This book perfectly captures the ambiguity of traumatic memories and the paradox of healing faced by a boy who survived the war but struggles to become whole.” Susan Beam
Doctors Without Borders: This book doesn’t romanticize child soldiers, but is nonetheless a story of their hope in regaining trust in themselves and in others.”
West Africa Trauma Team: “Abe in Arms, although fictional in nature, could have been true for any number of young boys in West Africa whose lives were devastated by conscription into the rebel army through force, threats, manipulation, bribery, and drugs. …Pegi Shea engrosses us in the horrors of war, pulls at our heartstrings as we weep for Abe, and causes us to yearn for a time when he can confront the demons that control his life. At the same time, she explores the wrenching irony of war refugees being thrust into an American youth culture that glamorizes the very violence that has caused Abe so much anguish. Sheaʼs resolution, like Abeʼs epiphany, is surprising, believable, and gratifying.” —Eleanor Porter Pershing, Ph.D.,
Albany Times Union: "A gripping tale that takes its place in the sad but necessary literature of Africa’s child soldiers, joining such classics as What Is the What, Dave Eggers’s fictionalized story of Sudanese child soldier Valentino Achak Deng."
Teaching Tolerance Magazine (SPLC): “Pegi Deitz Shea tells Abe’s story with compassion, educating readers both about the Liberian conflict and about post-traumatic stress disorder and its treatments.
www.ChildrensBooksHeal.com: "Pegi Deitz Shea has written a powerful book for teens about young boys forced to become soldiers in war-torn countries like Liberia. She isn't afraid to take her readers to complicated and uncomfortable places. . . . How will those who survive, ever live normal lives?"
Reach And Teach: "Powerful books like Abe in Arms will help inspire younger and older readers to help put an end to children being trapped in the nightmare of war." Craig Wiesner, cofounder
Gold Star Award Winner!
…ABE IN ARMS amazed me. In spite of the horrors of child soldiers, war, and struggles to come to terms with who he is and where he came from, Abe is easy to relate to. I found myself turning the pages without realizing I was even doing it. The story drew me in and kept me mesmerized as I learned more about Abe and his life.
This isn't the type of story I would normally read; I'm much more into fantasy and lighthearted fun. However, the truth of Abe's experiences in a war-torn country, and the struggles he faces as he deals with memories he'd much rather forget, compelled me to keep reading until I couldn't help falling in love with ABE IN ARMS.
This eye-opening novel is a must-read! I don't often want to pick up a book and read it again, but I have a feeling I'll be opening ABE IN ARMS again in the near future. Joan Stradling
By Jeanne on September 6, 2010
I'm such a fan! I read it in three days and couldn't wait from one reading to the next. It's been on my mind constantly. It was so powerful.
I'm glad to see this kind of writing targeting teens. I read "What is the What" by Dave Eggers. This made the same point, but in a more coherent story. I think it opens up such understanding and such sympathy for PTSD and the courage it takes to survive war. There's such stigma about going to a mental hospital rather than honor in overcoming such devastation. I finished the book in the middle of the night and had to get up to blow my nose.
The writing is so vivid. I could picture the characters, the track meets, the suburban house, the Maryland landscape, the factory grounds - it was all so real. It had just the right amount of sex, temptation, drugs and language to keep it real for a young person. The courage it takes for Abe to survive such horrors certainly puts teen angst in perspective. Pegi Deitz Shea hit the nail on the head.
Jeremy Mineau, Pac 10 & NCAA Championship Runner: “Written in straightforward prose, Abe in Arms hooks you and pulls you in. ….I found myself rooting for Abe on and off the track, cheering when he succeeds and disheartened as he falters.”