Like anyother novels about growth, the book is full of happiness mixed with bitterness, mostly bitterness of course as the more you grow the more it hurts.
Commentators say it's a children's book, like the other nearly one hundred books of the famed auther Michael Morpurgo. I don't think I agree, as the first part of the story told the happy-go-lucky days of the Peaceful family, actually not so happy, given the Peaceful brothers lost their father and the poverty plaguing the family and all, but the later part, the part where the peaceful brothers, Charlie and Tommo going to Belgium to fight the Germans, is far too cruel for children. Let alone in the end, Charlie was shot dead, not by the enemies, but by their own man.
It's mostly about brotherhood. Charlie is like the brother most of us have always wanted. He's smart, he's strong, he's a born leader. And Tommo, the black sheep of the family, is the narratator.
The war part reminds me of "All Quiet on the Western Front". As Tommo said, they are living in hell, and it's not god-made, it's man-made.
And the brotherhood reminds me of "Pear Harbor" in which the two brothers are all in love with the same girl, and the strongers one always protects the other. The loyalty between them is so strong that I don't think girls will ever understand that. It's the same in the "Legends of the Fall". Although the plots sounds familiar, still, every time you read it, you will be touched.
Everyone had their share of the growing pains, but what the Peacefuls have been through is too much.
I will never read the book again I guess, because it hurts.
P.S. The Chinese translation of the book is called"柑橘与柠檬啊" quoting the name of the song Big Joe always hums to soothing himself and everyone. But the orinigal version is also included in the Chinese book.