Through My Daughter’s Eyes by Julia Dye presents a military family from the first-person perspective of their seventh grade daughter, Abbie. With unerring accuracy, Dye depicts the preteen mind, with all its angst, emotion, and hard-earned wisdom. What’s unusual in this coming of age story, though, is that Abbie must deal not only with the turbulence of the middle school years, but do it in the context of the particular stresses pressed upon military families whose loved one is deployed to a combat theater.
During her father’s 14-month deployment to the Middle East, Abbie struggles with classmates who dismissively taunt her about her father’s absence, her own sadness, her mother’s increasing inability to cope, and the growing estrangement between her parents and herself.
While aimed at the young adult audience, this book can also hold the attention of adults, whether they are from a military background or not. Military families will find much (maybe all) they have in common with the Mathews family, sharing their journey from pre-deployment jitters through post-deployment post traumatic stress. Nonmilitary families will gain a better understanding of the small percentage of the population that is still willing to lay their lives on the line for their country and for freedom for all.
MWSA Reviewer: Betsy Beard (Feb 2018)
Through My Daughter’s Eyes is a one-of-a-kind, much-needed look at what it means to come of age in a military family today.
Our middle school heroine Abbie is wiser than her years—and most of the adults in her life, for that matter. Equal parts Flavia de Luce and Harriet the Spy, Abbie describes her life this way: “My best friend and fellow Army-brat Megan and I had a plan to get through Dessau Middle School (Go Diamondbacks!) by being just good enough to not get noticed and not so good we’d be picked out for any attention. And it worked—for a while.
"Then my dad got deployed—again—and mom fell apart, leaving me in charge of my own life and, it seemed, everyone else’s. When Dad came home after about a hundred-million years, he wasn’t much help, either. I know war is terrible, but it’s not like he talks to me about it, so how was I supposed to know what to do? He’s not even the same dad that left.
"I turned to my grandpa for help, but in the end, I had to let go of being the glue that kept everything together. I had to learn to give my parents room to save themselves—and our family.”
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Fiction, Young Adult
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Young Adult (fiction or non-fiction)
Number of Pages: 190