May 28, 2014

Review: Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold


Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bryant is not happy. She’s had to leave all her friends behind and move across the country for her dad’s job in the military. One hot summer evening during her first week in her new city, she’s out killing time at a local garage sale when she spots a little soldier doll amid the junk. She thinks only that it might be a good last-minute birthday gift for her dad, who’s about to ship out to Afghanistan. She doesn’t realize that it might be a missing (and very valuable) historical artifact. With the help of Evan, the cute guy she’s just met at a local used book store, Elizabeth discovers that the doll might be THE soldier doll: the inspiration for a famous World War I poem of the same name.

Elizabeth’s story is interwoven with the amazing, tumultuous story of the soldier doll itself. Fashioned with love by a father for his only child in England years ago, we follow the doll back to England during World War I, then on to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a Czech concentration camp during World War II, Vietnam in 1970 and through the aftermath of 9/11.

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Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold
Publication Date:  March 1, 2014
Publisher:  Second Story Press

Available for Purchase:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn-2013Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold is one book that I am really hoping will be made into a movie. As I read the pages in this book, it wasn’t difficult at all to imagine the words and images making it onto the big screen.

And the basis of the book? A soldier doll that was found by Elizabeth at a garage sale whom she buys for her father for his birthday. A perfect fit seeing as her father is a soldier who is supposed to ship out to Afghanistan. But little did she know that the little soldier doll that she has found, may be the actual soldier doll made famous by a poem by Margaret Merriweather, written during WWI.

It is with this revelation that Elizabeth and father decide to have the authenticity of the doll looked into to see if it is, in fact, that very same doll.

The story flips from the past to present day. The past is what made this book very fascinating to me. It goes back from major war (starting in WWI) to major war tracing the travels of this soldier doll. You witness the hands it exchanges and how it ended up in Toronto, Canada and into the hands of Elizabeth.

Every war story pinged my heart. Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold tells the stories of the different soldiers and families that are in the possession of the doll. You can vividly see the harsh reality of war and the sacrifices made.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about this story was how you were able to put the pieces of the soldier doll puzzle together to get the whole picture. You get to see how different lives would become intertwined, and witness just how amazing the soldier doll’s journey was.

Did this book make me cry? You bet your sweet patooty it did. Soldier Doll had me reaffirming the bravery of the soldiers who have fought in the past and who fight now for the things that we have today. Things that we may take for granted. Heroes…every single one of them.

There was a part where a soldier was at a loss for words after finding out that the very person he gave the doll had a life and family of their own. The emotion that was written throughout this book gave me goose bumps, and I had a very difficult time putting it down.

What did I not enjoy about this book? Well, to be honest, I had a difficult time with the main character, Elizabeth. I felt like she was a rude little spoiled kid at times, and had to shake my head at her with how she interacted with her parents. And then there was the parts where the parents were made out to be very daft when it came to connecting with Elizabeth. As a parent myself, I know what Facebook is and how to use it, as well as other means of social networking. And I’m pretty sure I’m pretty close to the age group that Elizabeth’s parents are (I think!). And I do know many, many parents who are tech savvy as well. So when they were portrayed as having no clue at all about Facebook (for example), I was a little taken aback. But that is all just minor stuff, dear readers. Minor, minor, minor.

Jennifer Gold is one author that I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for. I would recommend this read to…everyone, actually. I feel like you need to experience this book, just like I did. Let the words carry you away to a past in history, and let it open your eyes to the harsh realities of the lives that were lost and the lives that were affected by the different wars portrayed in this book.



jennifer gold

I’m a writer, lawyer, teacher, and mom of two living in Toronto, Canada. I’ve studied psychology, law, and public health at York, McGill, and Harvard Universities. When not working, writing or chasing my kids, I can usually be found devouring YA novels and eating chocolate. Soldier Doll is my first novel.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

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