I received a copy of And Then the Sky Exploded from Dundurn via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.
This book… this book is something unique and good and important.
I don’t have much in common with Christian Larkin, it’s true. I’m not a teenage boy born in Canada and moved to America, lucky enough to go on high school trips to Japan. And despite this utter lack of similar, shared experiences, I feel some connection to Christian.
I suppose it’s about genealogy. And history, very much about the history.
Long story short, Christian’s GG Will (short, 21st century-speak for Great-Grandfather William) dies and there are protesters outside his funeral because he, in this fictional tale, was one of the scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project and helped to develop the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Christian had spent his short life believing only that GG Will was a cool old guy who knew lots of things and occasionally played street hockey.
Alerted to this dark family secret, Christian dives into research, trying to understand just what the Manhattan Project meant and suggesting his high school Travel Club (why oh why did my high school not have a Travel Club??? oh, right… we were so poor we had to get paper donated so we could print stuff *sigh*) go to Japan instead of to England.
Christian, the semi-popular and always amusing narrator of the story, wants to atone for the role GG Will had in one of the darkest moments in human history. He wants to understand why and how the man he looked up to could be a part of that.
And strangely, it’s a Hiroshima grandmother who was eleven on the day the bomb was dropped who gives him the closure he needs, teaching him that he can still admire the man who simply part of something so much more awful than that one moment and that one action.
It’s a very well-rounded story full of meaning. I think it’s very important for it’s targeted demographic to read.