To say that the United States of America has become a polarized nation is an understatement and Craig DiLouie is diving directly into what could happen if two major ideologies which govern the country can’t find a way back to co-existing. The story is set in the near future during the second American Civil War. The events are timely, and things kick-off when the President of the United States is impeached but refuses to leave the office.
It is easy to jump on the idea that this will be a pro-Democrat or pro-Republican book depending on your political views, but this isn’t that story. In fact, DiLouie is able to deftly create a narrative that doesn’t cast blame on either political party as to who is right or wrong. This is a story about how two opposing factions keep ramping up their politics and differences to the point where there is no way back to normalcy. There is no way back to peace. There are only the two sides who find themselves at war, and we explore this concept through the eyes of a 10-year-old Hannah Miller on one side of the war with her older brother Alex on the other.
We also follow Aubrey, who is a reporter that is trying to show the world that these opposing sides have resorted to using children as soldiers and Gabrielle Justine, who works for UNICEF and is trying to bring humanitarian aid to the United States. While these two absolutely help move the greater story forward, it is the world of each of the two children that steal the show.
Each of the militias which they belong to so believes that they are on the right side of history that keeping track of who is a hero and who isn’t can almost feel confusing at times. Which is clearly part of the point.
This is a story of a brother vs. sister, of a family torn apart and children being turned into soldiers in what was once the greatest country in the world. It is a spotlight being shined on the horrors of war and what happens to the innocents who are just trying to live that are dragged into a conflict that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. It is how a divide can be amplified to the point where there is no longer a community, just enemies with no way back to a world we know and love.
‘Our War’ is a spotlight on a dystopian society which could far too quickly come to pass if cooler heads don’t prevail. It is dark, it is brutal, and it shines a light on the ugly side of where our society could quickly head.
Never has a dystopian future been so well written and delivered such a powerful social commentary on our modern society, no matter what end of the political spectrum you find yourself falling on. A fascinating and almost painful read that I highly recommend.
By: Craig DiLouie
August 20th, 2019