Cracker! by Cynthia Kadohata

March 2, 2017
By , Chicago, IL

Cracker! Is a historical fiction book that is based on a dog who serves in Vietnam with her owner. Cracker’s owner, Willie, loses his job and something happens to his Dad which forces him and Cracker to separate. Cracker does not like that she is separated from her true owner. An army recruit named Rick has to be paired up with Cracker. At the beginning Cracker and Rick don’t get along so well, Rick tries to cope with Cracker so he can get a better understanding of Cracker. In the time that Cracker is with Willie, the book doesn’t necessarily take place anywhere, it’s hinted that it might’ve taken place in the low areas of an urban neighborhood, maybe I have missed it or something, but that's kind of what it describes it as. It mostly takes place throughout Vietnam. The book imitates Jungle warfare and how it was like fighting throughout Vietnam. The book takes place around the time where the U.S. was involved in Vietnam, so about 1955-1975.

The major character in the book is Cracker. Cracker is a brave and courageous dog that follows and listens to her instructor (Rick) throughout Vietnam. Cracker has a tough time just trying to cope with her new owner. Cracker is a 2 foot high female German Shepard. Cracker had a very strong connection with Willie and does not want another one. Cracker is very loyal to her owner and it takes awhile for her to adjust.

Some of the minor characters are Rick, Will, and U-Haul. U-Haul is Rick’s sergeant and taught Rick things he needed to know when out in the battlefield. U-Haul is not the nicest guy, he is very rough with Rick, but Rick just thinks that he’s not doing it to be mean, but doing it to make him listen. Will use to be Crackers owner until both of them got separated. Will had to separate with Cracker because he had to move, where the Cracker was sent off into the military.

Will’s Dad loses his job and forces Will to move into an apartment. The reason why Cracker and Will separate is because of his apartment, it does not allow dogs. Cracker is then sent off into the military in a series of events, where she then finds herself with her new owner, Rick. What’s interesting about this is that she doesn’t want a new owner, and it’s hard for her to cope with her new owner and get along with him. After awhile she got used to Rick. She stayed very loyal to Will and Rick, staying by their side. Cracker shifting from one owner to another wasn’t that easy. Rick and Cracker have to risk their lives on trying to find and disarm bombs in a field. After boot camp with Cracker, Rick and Cracker are sent out into their first special operations mission. They were to eliminate enemies in a village. Rick gets shot in the leg and Cracker did not know what to do so she ran away. Rick spent time in a hospital nearby trying to find some news on where Cracker can be. Rick and Cracker have created a bond throughout the story. Cracker was then later found and returned to Rick. 

This book is great for anyone who likes war books combined with a “making new friends” type of theme. I really do recommend this book for people who can relate to someone being loyal and true-hearted with them. The book provides a lot great detail, everything is on point. Although, it is not the best book I have read, but it sure is making it’s way up the list. It really describes the Vietnam scenes accurately and detailed, it’s just a really good book to read.

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