Cracker starts out life as a championship show dog, but then a broken leg sends her to twelve-year-old Willie and his family as a pet. But when Willie can’t keep her, she becomes a U. S. Army dog, assigned to newly-enlisted teenager, Rick Hanski. And there, they bond so tightly that they both end up surviving the horrors of the Vietnam War.
Mr. E and I loved this book, although I think it was for very different reasons. It was a hard sell for me at first. The style it’s written in reminded me of books from when I was kid. More description, more characters, more shifts of points of view, more…distance from what is happening. I’m not sure how to describe it. But it took me a while to connect to the story. And, anyway, it didn’t seem to bother Mr. E in the least. He loved the action and the single-mindedness of Cracker. I loved this window into the Vietnam War. There aren’t many kids’ books that are set in Vietnam during the war (I think I’ve only read Fallen Angels) and because of that, it was powerful and eye-opening for both of us. It also made Mr. E and I give our two dogs some extra loving every night. Even if they barely come when they are called, much less sniff out booby traps and save hundreds of lives.