Review

My Faraway Home: An American Family's Wwii Tale of Adventure and Survival in the Jungles of the Philippines

by Mary McKay Maynard



We hear a lot about the bombing of Pearl Harbor these days, and for
good reason. When it actually happened, there was nothing to
compare it to. Unfortunately, Mary McKay and her family were not
even on U. S. shores at the time in order to deal with the
consequences of this act --- instead they were in the Philippines,
the next place on Japan's attack plan, living with other mining
families. They fled their comfortable home for a jungle flight that
they hoped would last simply days. Instead, they found themselves
on the run in the tropics for two years, escaping on submarines
dodging torpedoes, surviving natural disasters --- even her brother
managed to survive a long stay in a prison camp after being taken
in after the bombing of Manila. MY FARAWAY HOME is a memoir that
few of us would like to repeat, but it does raise interesting
questions about the fights for freedom and how far one must go and
what one must suffer in order to preserve our American way of
life.

Maynard writes with a fierce but direct remembrance that reflects
both her childhood passions (she was eight at the time of Pearl
Harbor) and her adult wisdom. It is remarkable to think that she is
able to meld those two usually disparate voices into one
exceedingly harmonious one. There is always something particularly
poignant about a child's view of wartime --- but, despite the many
real tragedies and horrors that await her and her family throughout
World War II, Maynard always finds the right details that bring the
moment to the reader in a most visceral fashion. The way the light
shimmers on the water during one of their races to a new camp, the
way the Filipino children play games with her despite the world of
difference of their experiences, the way her mother painstakingly
recorded her barest emotions in a diary that forms the backbone of
this book --- Maynard is all about the details, and they make this
book shine.

MY FARAWAY HOME allows for both the life of wartime and the stuff
of everyday life to further illustrate the wonders of the author's
childhood, as it happens on multiple levels. Mary McKay Maynard has
crafted a really touching and incisive look at one family's
adventure --- and makes it one that we can all relate to,
regardless of our personal experiences with danger and fear. This
is a tale that may help any reader edgy from today's headlines to
find some comfort in the wake of whatever is to come.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 22, 2011

My Faraway Home: An American Family's Wwii Tale of Adventure and Survival in the Jungles of the Philippines
by Mary McKay Maynard

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2001
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: The Lyons Press
  • ISBN-10: 1585742619
  • ISBN-13: 9781585742615