Penguin Group Canada|April 20, 2010|Mass Market Paperbound|ISBN: 978-0-14-317178-2
Marcus and his sister are counting down the days until their father comes home from Afghanistan. When the big day arrives, the family is overcome by happiness and relief that he is safe, but as the days pass Marcus begins to feel that there is something different about his father. Barely sleeping, obsessed with news from Afghanistan, and overly aggressive, his dad refuses to seek counselling. Marcus knows post-traumatic stress disorder affects many soldiers, and he needs to get his dad some help before it is too late.
Fifteen-year-old, Marcus’s father is stationed in Afghanistan serving as part of the Special Forces team. His mother, Carol and younger sister, Megan live on the base which Marcus prefers. He feels more comfortable living there and feels “how could anybody who didn’t have a parent serving overseas know what it felt like for us?” Marcus feels he is more with his kind than he would be living outside the base.
Megan has a lot of trouble sleeping due to worry about her Dad and begins having night terrors. That is somewhat rectified by sleeping with her Mom in her bed, and she has a pillow with a picture of her Dad’s face on it. Each night before she goes to bed she would spritz the pillow with her Dad’s after shave lotion which calmed her down a great deal.
To keep herself busy and as free from worry as possible, Carol works at Wal-Mart a few hours a week. When she is home she cleans every surface in the house. Marcus often jokes that they have the cleanest home on the base.
Waiting for this tour of duty to be over is very difficult on the family. They have made a calendar that hangs on the kitchen wall which counts down the days until his return. Each day, Megan crosses off one day and announces to Carol and Marcus how many days are left.
Each day the family waits for an e-mail or phone call from Afghanistan and they are worried sick because it has been 3 weeks since they’d last heard anything. This is unusual and the longest their father has ever gone without communicating with them. Then one day on the news they heard that a Canadian soldier has been killed by an IED and several others were wounded. The family is heart-stricken thinking it could be their father and that is why they haven’t heard from him in such a long time. Fortunately for them, it wasn’t him, but it was Marcus’s girlfriends father instead and Marcus had to deal with that whole situation for the girls’ sake.
When Dad finally returns home he is a changed man and is clearly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but fails to see that in himself. It is a very difficult period of time for the rest of the family as they try to convince him that he needs counselling.
Wounded was written for a Grade 8 class and was penned with honesty and tempered with consideration for the audience for which it was written. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in a couple of hours at a short 224 pages. Eric Walters is a patient and kind writer who always keeps in mind the audience his book is geared for.
Wounded reminds us all to be very thankful to the brave men and women who risk their lives every day for our country. Next time you see a soldier, remember to shake their hand and say thank you.