Stay Where You Are and Then Leave is about a boy named Alfie and his family's experiences as his father, Georgie, enlists in the army to fight in World War I. Alfie and his mother, Margie, are left alone in London to fend for themselves, and their entire world changes quickly after Georgie leaves. Margie finds herself having to get a job, Alfie notices that attendance at school is no longer enforced, and neighbors begin to disappear. Alfie looks forward to the regular letters from his father, until they stop coming. Alfie is convinced that his father has died, but his mother insists he's on a "secret mission". Alfie soon learns the truth, and the novel takes a turn into examining post-traumatic stress disorder, before it was given that name.
I thought it was really interesting to examine PTSD through the lens of World War I, because you hear about it so often right now with soldiers returning from the Middle East. I was also amazed, again, at Boyne's ability to capture the voice of a child, and thought the narrative was very age-appropriate.
Publication Date: March 25, 2014