FRONT LINES: SHE’s Fighting for her Country by Michael Grant
This novel is alternative fiction that takes place just before and during World War II. The premise is that girls as well as boys must register for the draft at age 18 and serve in combat if called up. The two female leads are both only 17, but lie about their ages and join up when America is attacked at Pearl Harbor. They both expect to serve in “safe” secretarial type units and are surprised and chagrined when they discover they will serve in combat units. The novel covers their experiences training and then in combat in North Africa.
The author shows quickly that he is NOT a female in the early sections of the book. The women’s actions and attitudes just don’t ring true, especially considering the time period is the 1940’s. He gets better when the “action” becomes actual action in war zones. The male members of the unit are both sexist and accepting of women in combat. Although the book is more than 500 pages, only the first few actions of the unit are covered in any depth. The end of the war is quickly summed up in a few foreshadows strewn throughout and then in a final few pages. The very green female sergeant who imbeds herself in a combat action with no battle training and in relative defiance of her superiors is patently unrealistic.
Because the aftereffects on both the men and women in the unit and those at home are not covered the book cannot be considered a foreshadowing of today’s “women in combat” initiatives. The first part of the book drags a bit, but the later war scenes are quite good.
3 of 5 stars