Alive, Kicking, Writing About it

Alive, Kicking, Writing About it

Alive and Kicking is the third book in a series of WWII books by Chris Lynch. This book focuses of the story of Theo McCallum and his journey throughout Europe as part of the USAAF. In these few paragraphs I will be talking about how the very unique setting of the story affects the mood of the story.


This book had a very interesting setting. The majority of the story takes place inside of a B24 Liberator bomber. The plane acted like a catalyst for the rest of the story to take part. Without the addition of such a claustrophobic setting the mood would be completely different, as many of the crew would not have bonded nearly as much. A key example of this is when Theo says, “…as I approach the plane one crisp, clear November morning, there it is. BATBOY…”(Lynch 61). The reason he saw BATBOY on the plane was because it was painted on the plane as a nickname for it. The reason this nickname was picked was because in the previous chapter they had just survived an open attack by some enemy fighters.


The setting also very much changes the point-of-view of the main character which because the book is in first person changes the way the mood of the book plays out. His location on the bomber is in the front gun turret, which is the furthest you can be from the escape hatch at the end of the plane’s tail. As he says, ”The escape is at the tail… as far away it could be from the nose gunner” (60). Due to this he has a very dangerous job and so the story is seemingly always filled with tension: “The air felt heavy, weighed down by the constant fear of attack…” (168). This danger is what often makes Theo who he is in this book as the writing shows him fearing the next move but building up the courage to continue doing his job.


This setting inside a bomber, albeit important, is only part of the setting of the whole book. The bomber and its crew go all over war-torn Europe seeing many theaters of the war. These different theaters affect the mood as well. For example, “We moved through Sicily, without any real purpose anymore…”(160) verses, “The once industrious factories, were reduced to rubble in a matter of minutes”(34). The first quote tells the story of the attack on Italy which was closer to the end of the war and so had much less action and excitement with more moments with the character telling us their life and backstory. The second quote, however, was taken right from the beginning of the book when they were conducting a daylight raid on German-occupied France. This segment features a battle right from the start and lures you in to read the book further.


Overall I would say that this book did have a very interesting setting that affected the mood of the story. Saying that though, this book overall was not one of my favourites as the characters lacked depth and I found it difficult to really engage with the story.




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