All Manner of Things

  • Author Susie Finkbeiner
  • Release Date June 4, 2019
  • Publisher Revell
  • ISBN/ASIN 978-0800735692
  • Our Rating
  • Reviewed by Abby Beal

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Our Review

Susie Finkbeiner’s ALL MANNER OF THINGS tells the story of a family in a small town in Michigan and how the Vietnam war touches their lives forever. But it is more than that; the story revolves around the secrets families keep, the things that we tell ourselves are true when they are not, and the complications of relationships that have never been easy to begin with.

We see this story through the eyes of young Annie, who idolizes her beautiful mom. Annie loves her older brother, Mike, who has gone to Vietnam to be a medic in the Army. Before Mike goes away, he tells Annie that if anything happens to him, she must contact their father. This is hard to hear, because their father left them long ago when coping with PTSD and coming home from war. It was all too much for their dad, and now Annie is told to communicate with him once more if anything dire happens.

In today’s day and age, social media posts and e-mail communication are some of the most popular ways to keep in touch with loved ones. But during the Vietnam War, what gave families hope and kept them close and informed was receiving and sending letters. Author Finkbeiner uses letters in a skillful way, so the reader has the sense of what it feels like to anticipate news and then to read it. And to have a brother, father, boyfriend, husband, or son enlisted in the military and at war, wondering if you are going to receive a letter saying they are doing okay, is quite stressful. The author brings us back to this time very well.

The Vietnam war was undoubtedly an extremely complicated time for the U.S. In ALL MANNER OF THINGS, you see a family in a small Michigan town facing this situation. Beautifully written and a serious book, one that will make you think about the emotions evoked from that time and generation, ALL MANNER OF THINGS is a worthwhile and thought-provoking read.

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