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The Girls They Left Behind Book Report

The novel The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter portrays the life of a young woman whose role is changing in the last 2 years of the war. In this story, Beryl (the main character) goes from being tired of having to say goodbye to her male friends, to being an active part in the war effort through her jobs and activities her family does, to being another girl who was fired because the unqualified men came back to take their jobs. The story really shows the transition from a working girl that has grown up into a woman, to a woman who has to go back to being a schoolgirl or else she won’t be considered qualified for well paying work. Hunter also brings to life the daily life of a girl on the home front, using points that aren’t as popularly mentioned like food rationing.

The main character in the novel is Beryl, who mostly liked being called Natalie, the teenage girl who writes in her diary Dolores from June 10, 1943 to November 2, 1945. Some other characters often mentioned are: her second cousin Carmen, who left for the war and is like her brother, Marie, her aunt who’s Carmen’s mom and needed Beryl’s family. Beryl’s brother Rickey, who wants to go to the war but is too young, Will, her boyfriend who left for the war, got married, and died before coming home, and her parents. Beryl’s mom is constantly helping the war effort and her father was too old for this war and too young for the previous war and is very wise in his advice. The novel is about Beryl, who is tired of having to say goodbye and being left behind. One day she decides to get a job over the summer but doesn’t go back to school that year because she likes helping with the war effort and feels more useful. Because of her first job at a candy counter, her work experience ends up growing until she’s given herself the name Natalie officially and ends up at De Hallivand, making mosquitoes (fighter planes). Beryl starts realizing how bad war is...
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