Today we have a guest post from Rachel Ohm, one of the teen book club members at our school. She read Hiroshima by John Hersey and here are her thoughts:
The Big Bang
No, this isn’t about the Big Bang Theory. This is about Hiroshima and the big atomic bomb. Little Boy (that was its name) was dropped August 6th, 1945 on Hiroshima, Japan. This was the first atomic bomb to have ever been dropped on a city. The book is titled Hiroshima and it tells the tale of 6 people that survived Little Boy. It flips back and forth between each person and tells what happened on the day of the blast. From then on it describes how each person “saw” the bomb hit and how they managed to survive. Truth is no one actually saw the bomb drop. The survivors describe it as a giant flash that came out of nowhere. It came like a thief in the night, silent.
The rest of the book is obviously about the aftermath of the bomb. It’s extremely grotesque and detailed about the wounds of thousands. All the people left barely alive piled in Asano Park, but then it began to overflow and people were pushed into a nearby river to drown. One of the survivors said he dragged as many people onto a small boat and rowed over to the other side to higher ground, but the next morning the water level was so high all the people he carried over had drowned anyway. Never-the-less he kept on trying to help as many people as he could. All the survivors (except for one, she had a broken leg) helped the citizens of Hiroshima as much as possible, but it still wasn’t enough. Thousands of people were dying every day due to unknown causes (at the time it was unknown) or severe injuries.
At our monthly book club meeting the topic of Hiroshima was welcomed with grim smiles and the room was nearly silent. What else was to be expected? As Americans we feel guilty that our older generation did this to Japan, but we also know that had we not done it we wouldn’t be in the position we are today. I could barely get the words out to describe the book, in fact the words I did say weren’t accurate enough. I have never read such a disturbing and ghastly book. Knowing it’s true and real made it all the more sickening. I can’t even talk about the things written in that book without feeling ill, and I don’t have a weak stomach! All I can say is if you want to read this book don’t eat before you do.
I have had a few jobs in my life that I didn't enjoy: detassling corn, working in a small motor parts factory, framing pictures, serving food, and rejecting bad eggs in an egg factory. Today, I take part in a book club for teens and I love every minute of it.