And One for All


Book: And One for All

Author: Theresa Nelson 

Cover Illustrator: Linda Benson

Publisher: Yearling, republished 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0440404569

ISBN-10: 0440404568

Language level: 3

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Said to be ages 9 – 12, but I’d say 13-17

Rating: *** 3 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Historical fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Nelson, Theresa.  And One for All (Published in 1989 by Orchard Books, a division of Franklin Watts Inc., New York City, NY  10016; republished in 1991 by Yearling Books, an imprint of Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York City, NY  10036).  It is 1967, and twelve year old Geraldine Brennan lives in the reservoir country north of New York City, NY, with her father Arthur, mother Eleanor, seventeen year old brother Arthur Jr. (known as Wing), and five year old younger brother Dub (short for W.W.—Wallace Wayne).  She is a seventh grader at St. Mary’s School.  Wing is a senior at St. Anthony’s High School where his best friend is Sam Daily who lives with his mother Mary Louise; Sam’s father was killed in the Korean War.

     Years before, in 1960, Geraldine, Wing, and Sam, had sworn eternal friendship and everlasting loyalty to each other like the Three Musketeers—“All for one, and one for all.”  But now Wing thinks the Marines and Vietnam have more to offer than school, while Sam would rather join anti-war protest marches for peace.  How does this difference affect their friendship?  Is there anything that Geraldine can do to help them keep their pledge alive?  And what will happen to Wing in Vietnam?   As this tense story is set during the Vietnam War, the author tries to present both sides of the issue, although it seems to me that it tends to come down a little more on the anti-war side.

      In addition to some common euphemisms (e.g., gosh, heck), the “h” word is found a couple of times, and terms like “My God” and “Good Lord” are frequently used  as interjections.  Also, there are references to Wing’s smoking cigarettes, drinking beer (in the school parking lot no less), and even coming home drunk, and to Geraldine’s first period.  While the book ends on a conciliatory and hopeful note, there is a sadness which pervades the plot, but I am sure that it accurately portrays the reality that was experienced by many families during that time period.

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