If you're looking for a set-in-New York book to read this weekend, Elizabeth Gaffney's "When the World was Young" is a good bet. The novel depicts a young girl coming of age in Brooklyn during the 1940s and 1950s.
With the country in turmoil, and dads, brothers and love interests off fighting, it's a hard time to grow up. For the book's protagonist, a comic book loving girl named Wally, her family is affected just as much as any other. Experiencing and learning about the world's harsh realities and being confronted with tragedy for the first time deeply affects her, but she finds strength in unlikely friendships and places.
A tomboy, Wally could not be more different from her glamorous mother, and the book explores their complicated relationship and the unique dynamic many mothers and daughters can relate to.
Like Wally, author Eilzabeth Gaffney grew up in Brooklyn Heights and she interviewed fellow Brooklynites who lived in her neighborhood during World War II for inspiration. The result is a very real portrayal of what it was like to live in New York during this time, full of day-to-day details that are easy to imagine, yet so different from those of today.
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