Good Night Irene

I had never heard of the American Red Cross Clubmobile service that women volunteers provided to the Allied servicemen in Europe during WWII. The author of Good Night, Irene, Luis Alberto Urrea, has written a fantastic historical fiction novel in tribute to those brave women. (Urrea’s mother was a socialite who enlisted with the Red Cross and served in France and Germany. There were signs that she suffered from PTSD after her return from the war.)
Irene and Dorothy are the wonderful main characters in Good Night, Irene. They are as different as night and day, but their friendship is the thread that connects all of their experiences. The two women start their journey expecting to serve coffee, donuts and smiles to the soldiers, but the realities of war take a toll as they move from assignment to assignment. There is laughter, love, danger, sadness, horrors of war, loss and the struggle for survival in horrible situations. Some parts of the novel were difficult to read, but reminded me that the freedoms that the men and women fought for in WWII did not come without a high cost for those who served. Other parts of the novel moved me to tears or had me laughing out loud with the wonderful descriptive writing. (The first chapters move a little slow, but hang in there and things pick up pretty quickly.)
I have read MANY WWII novels, but Good Night, Irene covered stories that I had never heard about before. I even looked up several websites about the American Red Cross clubmobiles. (Below is a picture of one of the clubmobiles.) I am so glad that I picked up this novel and hope some of you enjoy it too!

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