By Nadia Roa ’18
“Johnny Got His Gun” written by Dalton Trumbo, is an award-winning novel as the Most Original Book of 1939, it’s a war story that takes place during WWI.
Joe Bonham, a young American soldier, waking up to the sight of a hospital room. Along with being wakened up in an unknown place, he is shocked to find that he is paralyzed because of a landmine he stepped on during his time at war. In every way to communicate he unable to do so. There are many twists in the story, but this one might just be the base line to the whole story: Morse code. Morse code is a type of communication that goes as far back as 1836. Its purpose during the war was to send secret messages. In the same way, Joe is able to send messages to every nurse and doctor that enter the room. Throughout the book, you go through a journey of ups and downs with the main character. Most of which involves his past life, his thoughts, and him trying to communicate with any living soul that enter his room.
The book is quite astonishing not only because of the plot but the types of emotions the book is able to bring to you. The author’s message throughout the book is things are not always what they seem to be. There are things in the book that a reader should familiarize themselves with such as the period of time the book takes place in as well as what is happening during this time period.
Many readers might say that this book relates to many other war books but something that allows “Johnny Gun His Gun” to stand out is the goal and message this book communicates. Some examples of this is the idea of propaganda. Agreeing and acting upon what the propaganda wants might seem courageous at the moment but in the long run, you are questioned whether that was the right idea. Another example is how each character is thought to not have a purpose in the book, but in reality they have one of the most important jobs. Trumbo decided this type of writing style in his book in order to make the reader think and reflect on their lives.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves war book because it puts the reader on edge while making you go through a wave of emotions. The book really allows one to think and reflect on the decisions they make.
- Page count 309
- Author: Dalton Trumbo
- Genres: Novel, Fiction, War story