Book Review: Dear America: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty (Boston, Massachusetts 1968) by Ellen Emerson White

flowersThis is the story of the all-Irish-American Flaherty family in the 1960s. Molly is that girl in school who is outgoing and popular, her brother is the handsome jock whom everyone adores, her dad is a fiery Irish-bred firefighter, and her mother is a devout Catholic. But Molly is torn about her opinions regarding the Vietnam War… on the one hand, Molly is a free-thinker, which often lands her in the principal’s office at school, but on the other hand, her beloved brother, Patrick, is serving in the war overseas, and she does not wish to believe he is doing anything wrong by defending their country. Their mother finds peace in her religion, going to daily Mass and inviting their priest over for dinner, which I thought was interesting and could’ve been explored more, but Molly is quick to be doubtful and vague about her religious feelings and beliefs. Molly begins to volunteer, visiting wounded soldiers in the hospital, and she also stands up to her racist uncle in one scene, as she respects the Civil Rights Movement. This book explores both complex sides of the Vietnam War well.