Home Front Girl: A Dairy of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America
November 01, 2012
Wednesday, December 10, 1941 “Hitler speaks to Reichstag tomorrow. We just heard the first casualty lists over the radio. . . . Lots of boys from Michigan and Illinois. Oh my God! . . . Life goes on though. We read our books in the library and eat lunch, bridge, etc. Phy. Sci. and Calculus. Darn Descartes. Reading Walt Whitman now.” Kept from the early 1930s through the mid-1940s by a young Chicagoan and edited by her daughter, this diary provides a fascinating, detailed record of the life of an astute and witty teenage girl during the Great Depression and the lead-up to World War II. The only daughter of a working-class Swedish immigrant and his wife, this everyday girl describes her life growing up in the city—from pining for handsome boys in ROTC uniforms to her love for the Art Institute, Lake Michigan and, later, her campus life at the University of Chicago. Along the way she ruminates about the daily headlines and major touchstones of the era: the Lindbergh kidnapping, FDR on the radio, Goodbye Mr. Chips and Citizen Kane, Garbo, Churchill, Hitler, war work, and Red Cross meetings. Poems, doodles, and drawings of the latest dress, outfit, or haircut accompany the entries. The diary is an entertaining and delightful read as well as a vivid account of a real American girl’s lived experiences. Reviews include: “[B]etter than fiction." — Kirkus Reviews “[R]eminiscent of Anne Frank.” — Joan Hiatt Harlow
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