An Enemy Like Me
by Teri M Brown
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Pub Date 24 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2023
How does a man show his love - for country, for heritage, for family - during a war that sets the three at odds? What sets in motion the necessity to choose one over the other? How will this choice change everything and everyone he loves?
Jacob Miller, a first-generation American, grew up in New Berlin, a small German immigrant town in Ohio where he endured the Great Depression, met his wife, and started a family. Though his early years were not easy, Jacob believes he is headed toward his 'happily ever after' until a friend is sent to an internment camp for enemy combatants, and the war lands resolutely on his doorstep.
In An Enemy Like Me, Teri M. Brown uses the backdrop of World War II to show the angst experienced by Jacob, his wife, and his four-year-old son as he leaves for and fights in a war he did not create. She explores the concepts of xenophobia, intrafamily dynamics, and the recognition that war is not won and lost by nations, but by ordinary men and women and the families who support them.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
This is a love story between Jacob, his wife Bonnie and their son William. The story reads like a memoir with each chapter telling the stories through the eyes of the individual. The reader really gets to know and understand this family. I found it fascinating how the author tells William's story as he is a young boy of 4-6. She really captures what a young child would be thinking.
The story unfolds as their lives become intertwined with WWII and how it affects and changes each of them. Jacob being born into a very German family, where the grandparents have emigrated to the United States, has to overcome the prejudice of German Americans during the time of Hitler's Germany. This young couple wrestles with what is patriotism and the love for each other. The characters struggle as each family does in real life. Teri Brown has put together a very moving historical fiction book that is sure to have readers thinking of love, patriotism and family. I highly recommend this book.
Amazing, phenomenal book. The characters are all wonderful. It tells the story of three generations of a German/American family during the War. I enjoyed each chapter dealing with a specific family member. I read this book on the recommendation of someone I don’t know and am grateful for having read it. Thank you to NetGalley, Atmosphere Press and the Author for allowing me to read and review this book.
Battle weary, mentally and physically, from trying to keep it all together, Jacob Miller feels like he’s fighting a battle he can’t win. Desperately wanting to fight for a country he loves, for a family he adores, and for a heritage he wants to maintain, Jacob is up against a war that is hell-bent on pitting the three against each other. Does he have to choose? What happens when he chooses one over the other?
“His mother was the machine gun he saw the time his parents took him to the picture show downtown. Bullets flew from her mouth, a staccato spray that hit his father squarely in the chest.”
What I liked:
✔️The author’s exploration of xenophobia
✔️Poignant reminder of the value of inoculations
✔️Highlighting how his war experience affected his wife and his young son
✔️Reminding readers that it’s individuals, ordinary people, rather than countries that win the war
✔️Heartfelt patriotism and the legacy we leave
✔️Look behind the curtains at a soldier’s experience in leaving for war
✔️Angst the German Americans felt at being caught between loyalties
✔️Title that made me pause and consider
✔️Pace and flow
✔️wonderfully implemented metaphors and similes alongside vivid descriptions
✔️Loosely based on family history
This one had an emotional pull that held my attention even better than her debut. I saw so much growth in her writing. Congratulations on a stellar second book, Teri Brown! The cover is amazing. Keep writing!
I was gifted this copy by Atmosphere Press and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
The synopsis of this book intrigued me, and fortunately, the book lived up to expectations. It revolves around the wartime experiences of German extraction Americans. Jacob was born in America, but feels he has to join up to prove his loyalty and protect his family.. Then we have the impacts on his wife and four year old son, as seen from the viewpoint of the time and of reminisces of the adult son in 2016. These timelines give a chance for reflection and understanding. Although dealing in hard subjects, this is a tender book exploring love, belonging, the immigrant experience and the wide ripples of war. Many thanks to NetGalley for a chance to preview this book.
First off, I read this as an ARC from Netgalley and Atmosphere Press. This novel was something I was hopeful to like as the description was really interesting. This novel BLEW me away. I absolutely loved everything that Teri M Brown was able to capture with this novel. It is a quick read with short chapters, however there are huge lessons, morals and insights in this novel. This book focuses on Jacob, his wife Bonnie and their son William. This novel focuses on Jacob having been raised by a soldier and seeing the sacrifices that were made, and ultimately becoming a soldier himself. I loved this novel and cannot wait to read more by Teri! Definitely recommend this novel!
I loved Teri’s first book, Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, and was so looking forward to this book. It did not disappoint. In it, we meet Jacob, his wife and his son as the story weaves between characters, generations and difficult times. It’s set primarily during World War II and Jacob is sent to fight for his country, but against his heritage. Readers feel the anguish Jacob endures, the support and ingenuity of his wife and the ramifications of their decisions on their young son. Readers are sure to be immediately ensconced in the story, learning real life lessons from these relatable fictional characters.
'An Enemy Like Me' highlights the humanity of war; the people and families behind the guns, destruction, and violence, 'Had they [those who started the war] considered the spoiled gardens, the tearing apart of families, the devastating loneliness?'
Jakob Mueller is a first-generation American. Although he lost his father when he was just a toddler, he and his mother have survived the harsh years of the Depression through hard work. Though times have been hard, he epitomizes the American dream, exuding optimism and a youthful can-do attitude. He meets Bonnie and manages to persuade her to marry him. Together, nothing will stop them from achieving their dreams of a better life. Nothing, except war, 'He loved his country and felt drawn to defend it. On the other hand, he had a wife and child he loved even more strongly.' The now named Jacob Miller is conscious that being German, albeit once removed, is a dangerous position to be in, as WW2 reaches its climax. 'Jacob was no Nazi sympathizer. He, too, wanted this madman defeated. And yet...Jacob was German.' In the end, he feels he has no choice but to enlist, but at what cost? Not only to him but to his wife, son, mother, and in-laws? 'Patriotism mingled with heartache.'
'An Enemy Like Me is told in the three voices of the father, mother, and son. It's not often we really think about the inner turmoil of those resigning themselves to enlisting and those who must be left behind. The quandary for Jacob is further exacerbated by his German heritage, 'American Jacob Miller and German Jakob Mueller. Two personas living in one body'. War has both knowingly and unwittingly changed all of us; made all of us. And in spite of all the death and destruction, we have found success. We have a future. Lest we Forget. This a good read.
MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
In this historical novel, Jacob Mueller was a first-generation American born in New Berlin to parents full of German Descent. His parents embraced their German heritage even after they moved to America. They found a better life in the United States of America. Jacob's father's family name was - Mattias Wendel Mueller in 1898. Jacob was born to Elisabet and Hyrum when New Berlin changed its name to North Canton after the First World War, during the time when Anti-German Sentiment was high. Later, Jacob changed his name to Jacob Miller when Hitler and the Nazi party began their cruel reign, he wanted to hide his heritage. He wanted no one to know his views about Nazis, Nazi Harboring or assuming he associated with Nazi sympathizers. There was more to living in the united states while Jacob's mother thought that was all it was needed to prove her allegiance. Whereas, Jacob understood that the American government could arrest or deport those not born in the United States. The alien enemy act had caused problems for German Americans. This can even put anyone in prison who disagreed with the govt. Jacob started working at a local grocery store soon after Americanizing his name. Jacob marries Bonnie who he first met as he was working as a lowly grocery delivery boy with a German background in the United States. Jacob decides to spend the rest of his life with his dear wife bonnie and they later eloped to secretly get married in West Virginia, without telling his mother. This happened in 1939. And then William Hyrum Miller was born to them. Before turning 40, William moved to North Carolina where there were family opportunities and experiences they would not have encountered in Ohio.
Jacob's life changed forever when Japan bombed pearl harbor, a US base in the Hawaiian Islands, and declared war on the United States and Great Britain. It was December 7th, 1941. The country he loved was at war. Now Japan bombed his country and declared war. This novel tells a tale about how Jacob holds his family close and protects them at the time of the war, even when he was not sure. Jacob loved his country and felt drawn to defend it. On the other hand he had a wife and a child he loved even more strongly. What good would it do to love Bonnie and William if the Japanese took over the United States, this reasoning led him directly back to being a soldier, an endless loop. December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the empire of Japan. Jacob's strong desire to fight for the country he loved so completely glowed in Jacob's eyes. Jacob was a proud American. He had a strong sense of duty and patriotism that would make anyone proud. This was also frightening for his family.
My favorite lines in this novel are: Bonnies thought on war; Teri M Brown writes; "I wonder if the Japanese considered me, and the many women like me when they declared war? Had they considered me, and the many women like me when they declared war? Had they considered the spoiled gardens, the tearing apart families, the devasting loneliness?" War. It was such an ugly word. Small but powerful. These three letters pitted nation, men against men. But from her vantage point of view, the war did something far worse. It trapped men between the love of their country and the love of their country and the love of their family, their wives, and their children.
This novel has brought out some in-depth research by the author of the War on the German Americans and the difficulties, and worries they faced having separated as families. A must-read if you love historical fiction novel. As Jacob decides to go to War as a soldier, will he return home victoriously to his family?
Thanks to NetGalley and Atmosphere Press Publishers for an advance copy for my advance review.
Pub Date 24 Jan 2023
Atmosphere Press Publishers
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