81 pages 2 hours read

Howard Fast

April Morning

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1961

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Coming of Age Through Trauma

The use of the name Adam is not incidental to this theme. April Morning is full of biblical allusions, and Adam is not only the first man in the Bible, but the only man who has no childhood. Adam’s sudden promotion to adulthood is the novel’s emotional center. There is something of a bait-and-switch in the first four chapters, in that the reader is led to believe the novel will track the relationship between Adam and his father. When that storyline abruptly terminates, the reader is effectively confused and disoriented, a literary technique that helps the reader experience Adam’s own internal chaos in the moment. The remainder of the book uses the battle and Adam’s reflections to depict the experience of boyhood giving way to manhood, largely through trauma and loss.

April Morning wears this theme on its sleeve, so to speak. There is no subtlety to it, which is not to say it is heavy handed, but rather that the other characters in the story generally realize what is happening to Adam and speak of it directly, even as Adam himself realizes it and informs the reader through his internal narrations of how he is adjusting and growing vis-à-vis the death of his father.

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By Howard Fast