OverviewKept from the early 1930s through the mid-1940s by a young Chicagoan, this diary provides a fascinating, detailed record of the life of an astute and witty teenage girl during the Great Depression and the lead-up to World War II. The only daughter of a working-class Swedish immigrant and his wife, this everyday girl describes her life growing up in the city—from pining for handsome boys in ROTC uniforms and bus trips between the Art Institute and her home to her love of Lake Michigan and, later, her campus life at the University of Chicago. Along the way she ruminates about the daily headlines and major touchstones of the era: the Lindbergh kidnapping, FDR on the radio, Goodbye Mr. Chips and Citizen Kane, Garbo, Churchill, Hitler, war work, and Red Cross meetings. Poems, doodles, and drawings of the latest dress, outfit, or haircut accompany the entries. The diary is an entertaining and delightful read as well as a vivid account of a real American girl’s lived experiences.
Reviews“An important and refreshingly engaging word painting of a far more innocent time in U.S. history. Home Front Girl is all about the thrill of being young, of questioning, and dreaming … and how those dreams can so easily begin to shatter under the crush of impending world events. The perspective here could not be more pure. Recommended!” —Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun and Eyes of the Emperor
“This captivating diary of the years leading into World War II provides a fresh view of the American scene, before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor." —Donald A. Ritchie, author of Doing Oral History
"Home Front Girl reveals the perceptions of a creative, brilliant, and hopeful yet genuine teenage girl in an uncertain and perilous era. Joan’s charm, naiveté, curiosity, and philosophies (reminiscent of Anne Frank) revealed in her journals left me with the hope that such depth of thought, creativity, sweetness, and forgiveness—as well as her sense of wonder—may still be found in today’s generation of young people." —Joan Hiatt Harlow, author of Star in the Storm
"A Chicago teenager's journal–riveting and real–recalls an era when adolescence was a preparation for adult life." —Richard Peck, author of Fair Weather
"Her sensitivity to and exuberance about events large and small is contagious, though her poetic tendencies are tempered by her doubts, intellect, sarcasm, and savvy. Witnessing Morrison mature as a woman and a writer is invigorating and memorable." — PublishersWeekly.com
"These diaries are a treasure on a scale with Anne Frank's. They tell the remarkable story of a real girl in a momentous time in history, from a unique viewpoint full of humor, insight, and emotional highs and lows on both a personal and an international level." —BlogCritics
"A fine, insightful and sometimes moving journal composed by a wholly likable young woman—better than fiction." —Kirkus
"[The book] provides a window into the 1940s, a time so different than today, technologically, but strikingly similar as well. . . . An excellent [way to] . . . understand what the average citizen was experiencing while war unfolded." —VOYA
Author BiographyJoan Wehlen Morrison was adjunct professor of history at the New School for Social Research and the coauthor and editor of American Mosaic: The Immigrant Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It and From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It. Susan Signe Morrison is a professor of English literature at Texas State University–San Marcos and the author of two books on the Middle Ages. She lives in Austin, Texas.