Carry Me Home
Delta, Aug 2008, $13.00
In 1940 Wisconsin WWII sixteen year old Earl "Earwig" Gunderman understands from his mom that the fever he suffered fried his brain leaving him struggling with learning new concepts. His older brother Jimmy tries to help Earwig as much as he can. That ends when a drunken Jimmy enlists in the National Guard. With no training, he is sent with equally raw recruits to serve in the Philippines where his unit is destroyed at the Battle of Bataan. With no word about how Jimmy fared, his family except Earwig assumes he died and grieve their loss.
Several years pass until Jimmy finally returns home, but he is not the same person who left. He suffers from battle fatigue after spending the war as a POW. He turns to drink, but Earwig will not allow his beloved older brother to drown himself in pity; nor will widow Eva Leigh.
The first half of this fabulous historical thriller introduces the audience to the Gunderman family and friends who are gung ho patriots in support of the war effort reaching a stunner when mom announces “the army lost Jimmy”. However, the tale becomes excellent with a current relevancy when Jimmy returns from the war bitter, angry and introverted. He and other vets accuse the government of deserting them in Bataan, which infuriates the townsfolk who remain patriotic supporters of the war allowing for no criticism for that helps the enemy. Yet even with that deep poignancy, Earwig owns the story line with his simple pragmatic outlook.