Summer Reading Adult Book Review: A Bell for Adano
Book Title: A Bell for Adano
Author: John Hersey
Review: During World War II The Council on Books in Wartime created a list of books marked as imperative. According to Molly Guptill Manning in When Books Went to War, these books were “deemed extraordinary, that clarified why the country was at war, what values were at stake and under what terms the war should end”. Of these imperative books A Bell for Adano was the only fiction novel to be so honored.
The story follows the exploits of Major Victor Joppolo as he takes leadership of the Italian town of Adano, which had recently been captured by American Military forces. In his first interview with prominent town’s people Joppolo learns the citizens believe that replacing their town’s bell, which was taken for the purpose of making weapons, is of the utmost importance. The citizens believe the bell is part of the town’s identity and the heart of Adano. As told in the preface, Joppolo’s work represents the “best of possibilities” as he works to solve various town problems that arise, while working with his superiors, other branches of the military and dealing with interpersonal relationships. All the while Joppolo continued promoting democracy, eliminating fascist expectations of leaders, and trying to replace the town bell.
The novel is 269 pages, excluding the preface; it contains numerous chapters allowing for easier division of reading. For a book given such importance, the prose is a bit basic. For example when two characters speak with one another there is little change in the lines. The prose simply repeat character A said, character B said and continue without variance thought the conversation. That notwithstanding, A Bell for Adano has an interesting story that is on the quicker side of reading.
Reviewed by: Mo R.
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(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)