An Enemy Like Me | Critical Book Review

Madeline Barbush delves into Teri M. Brown’s “An Enemy Like Me” with a critical eye, examining its portrayal of love, war, and the intricate dynamics of family and identity during World War II.

A Shallow Exploration of Complex Themes

Brown’s attempt to navigate the treacherous waters of family dynamics and patriotism during wartime falls short of delivering a truly compelling narrative. While the novel promises to dissect the intricacies of love and identity, it struggles to rise above clich├ęs and stereotypes.

Superficial Character Development

In “An Enemy Like Me,” Brown introduces us to Jacob Wendel Miller, a German American soldier sent to fight the Japanese. However, the characters, including Jacob, Bonnie, and William, lack depth and fail to evoke genuine empathy. Their struggles appear contrived, making it difficult for readers to connect with their plights.

An Ineffective Narrative Structure

Brown’s decision to alternate between Jacob and Bonnie’s perspectives through separate chapters is a commendable effort to explore the impact of war on both soldiers and their families. Unfortunately, this technique falls short of achieving the desired intimacy and fails to bring depth to the characters’ experiences.

Missed Opportunities

While the novel briefly touches upon the complexities of identity and the burden of expectations on men during the era, it fails to fully develop these themes. The potential for a profound exploration of these issues remains largely untapped.

A Shallow Portrayal of Love

Brown’s portrayal of love feels forced and lacks authenticity. The relationships between characters fail to evoke genuine emotion, rendering the story’s central theme unconvincing.

Lackluster Moments

While Brown attempts to infuse the narrative with poignant moments, they often come across as contrived and fail to resonate with readers. The emotional weight of the characters’ experiences remains elusive, leaving the reader disconnected from their struggles.

A Missed Opportunity to Address Mental Health

The novel briefly touches on mental illness as a subplot but fails to provide a meaningful exploration of this critical issue. It remains on the periphery of the story, missing an opportunity to delve into the complexities of mental health during wartime.

A Mediocre Depiction of Sacrifice

“Sacrifices are aplenty in An Enemy Like Me,” but they lack the impact and depth required to make them meaningful. The characters’ sacrifices do little to convey the gravity of the situation, leaving readers indifferent to their plight.

In Conclusion

“An Enemy Like Me” by Teri M. Brown falls short of its promise to deliver a powerful exploration of love, war, and identity during World War II. The novel’s shallow character development, ineffective narrative structure, and missed opportunities to delve into critical themes result in a lackluster reading experience. While the concept had potential, its execution leaves much to be desired.

Modern Book Details:

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Atmosphere PressHistorical Fiction / WWII328 pages978-1639885459

Madeline Barbush delves into Teri M. Brown’s “An Enemy Like Me” with a critical eye, examining its portrayal of love, war, and the intricate dynamics of family and identity during World War II. A Shallow Exploration of Complex Themes Brown’s attempt to navigate the treacherous waters of family dynamics and patriotism during wartime falls short…