Author: Nina Bawden
Name: Carries war
Made in year: 1973
Published by: Puffin books
The bombs were falling on London. The two siblings, Nick and Carrie were wartime evacuees send to Wales, where they should live with strangers until the war was over. None of them looked forward to leave their house, dog or family, but they knew it was the safest thing to do at the time. Each and every kid was given a home, Nick and Carrie wished for a nice and loving house, maybe with an old married couple, but they did not get what they hoped for, not at all…
Mr. Evans was a strict man who wanted everything to be done his way, may god help the ones who didn’t listen at him! He lived alone in his house with his younger sister, Louise. They were nothing like each other. Louise was a quiet and peaceful young lady who adored the kids. She could have long and trusting conversations with the two of them. Nick and Carrie could see that she wasn’t happy. Mr. Evans did always boss her around, sometimes he could shout at her for hours. They couldn’t stand it, they wanted so much to help her, but they didn’t dare, cause he would probably give them a lesson or two as well. The more time they spend near him, the more they hated him. He wouldn’t let them walk on the carpet, he didn’t allow them to go to the toilet in the house, so they had to use the earth toilet in the yard instead, and he always made them help out in his little, boring shop next to the house.
Nick and Carrie were two adorable kids. Nick was Carries younger brother. He loved life, the nature, the people around him (Except Mr. Evans), and off course food. He could stuff in with cookies, cakes and meat until everyone thought he would crack, but strange enough, he never did! Carrie was a serious little girl with a lot of thoughts on her mind. Mr. Evans liked her best of the two kids, probably because she was a very dutiful and decent young lady.
Their friend, Albert, was much luckier. He was living in a place called Druids bottom with an old and caring woman called Hephzibah Green, the strange little mister Johnny and Mr. Evans sister, Ms. Gotobed. It was actually Ms. Gotobeds house, but she was very ill and almost never out of bed, so she needed all the help she could get from Hephzibah. Nick and Carrie loved being in Druids Bottom, and they would visit them as often as they could. Hephzibah was a great cook; her blueberry pies were the best food in the world! Nick and Carrie could sit in the little, cosy kitchen for hours, listening at Hephzibah’s stories about slaves from Africa and skulls that would live forever.
The story about the skull was the greatest one. It was about a little African boy who arrived to Druids Bottom as a slave, but he died short after. The story tells that the people who live in Druids Bottom has to keep his skull in the house, because if they don’t, something terrible will happen. They could hear that story over and over again, even Mr, Johnny, who had heard the story about 100 times, didn’t get tired if it. Mr. Johnny was a bit of a strange young fellow, at first, he frightened them, but his soft, bubbly voice and his little, and spooky smile was something the children started to love. Nick and Mr. Johnny could have long chats, even if Nick only understood the half bit of what he was saying.
Nick and Carrie were getting used to live away from their family, and they actually started to like it. The only thing that bothered them was Mr. Evans, but they didn’t spend much time with him, so they managed well. One day, they got the sad message that Ms. Gotobed had past away. The children knew that Mr. Evans and Ms. Gotobed hadn’t spoke with each other for years, but they felt sorry for him, cause after all, it was his sister. Mr. Evans didn’t seem to care for the lost of his older sister; all he wanted was get his claws into Druids Bottom. Some days after Mr. Gotobeds death, he went to Hephzibah and claimed to see the will. Hephzibah didn’t knew anything about any will, when Mr. Evans heard that, he rushed into the house and started to look for it, but he didn’t find anything.
Mr. Evans had his mind on Druids Bottom, and he hired many lawyers to find out if he had the right for Hephzibah’s dear home, and unfortunately, he had. He gave Mr. Evans, Hephzibah and Albert a month to clear their stuff and find another place to live. Nick and Carrie could see Hephzibahs grief, they knew how much she loved this place and it would break her heart to leave. The children were mad at Mr. Evans. How could he do this? How could he throw honourable people like Hephzibah out of their home?
One day, it came a letter for Nick and Carrie. It was from their mother. She wanted them to come living with her. She had bought a little house where they could live together. She had send train tickets as well; they should leave only in three weeks! Carrie didn’t know what to feel. She knew she would miss Hephzibah more than life itself, and auntie Lou off course. Nick was happy, Carrie knew how much he had missed his mother, and how he longed to see her again.
The weeks went so fast, and they couldn’t believe it when the last day came.
They went to Druids bottom to say goodbye.
Hephzibah took the skull in her hands and told them the story for one last time; they ate pies and thought of how much they would miss each other. The time came when they had to go home, Hephzibah asked Carrie if she could put the skull back in the box in the library, and off course she would. She went into the library, the window was wide open, and without thinking, she threw the skull out in the yard. She regretted it right away, but she didn’t do anything with it. They said goodbye and went home. There was nobody there, strange, because auntie Lou used to be home at this time of the day. Nick looked at Carrie and said:” Aunt Lou will not come back. She has moved away with an American soldier and she is going to marry him.” Carrie felt sorry for Mr. Evans now; he was left all by himself with his anger and greediness.
The children went to bed, because they knew they had a long way to travel. Carrie couldn’t sleep; she had to many thoughts on her mind. The next day they said goodbye to Mr. Evans and went on the train. They knew they could see Druids bottom from the railway, and they were looking forward to see it for the last time. But this wasn’t any happy goodbye. The house was burning! Carrie screamed. Was it her fault? Was it because of the skull? Were Hephzibah, Mr. Johnny and Albert dead? The questions were falling down in her head, and she knew she wouldn’t find any answers.
My opinion of the book:
This story is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is so exiting to hear about these two innocent children, and how their lives are changing because of the war. I imagine Hephzibah as this old, nice lady who reminds me of my grandmother, and that brings back some memories from when I was a little girl.
The way Nina Bawden has written this book is amazing. The way she describes the houses, the landscape and the different kind of people, is so great that you almost feel like being there, and if you want to know how this great adventure ends, I recommend you to read the book, cause it is absolutely worth it!