Eventual Poppy Day’ by Libby Hathorn

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Author Libby Hathorn has drawn on family history and done extensive research to write a fascinating book that profiles two young protagonists, both seventeen years of age, who are related. Maurice, who went to Gallipoli and the Western Front and his great-great nephew, Oliver, who is trying to deal with difficult family circumstances but whose discovery of Maurice’s WW1 diary changes the way he sees the world. Eventual Poppy Day is a very Australian book as it portrays aspects of Australian society that are unique due to the history of the country and the contemporary make up of it’s society. The book has two seventeen-year-old main characters who are related, but who live 100 years apart. The two young men share several similarities; they are both artists and they both have relationships with women that are physically satisfying but emotionally confusing, leading to emotional breakdown of both characters and impulsive behaviour.

In 1915, Maurice enlists to fight in World War 1 and is sent to Turkey, France and Belgium. He leaves behind a girl who he believes is the love of his life and who he believes will wait for his return from the war. In the chapters about Maurice, the author showcases the futility of war, the disastrous effects on the soldiers and the ripple effect on their families at home and those unfortunate people who are living in the direct line of the war fronts. Oliver is struggling to find his path, find his love but at the same time, do the right thing by his single mother, traumatised younger sister and aged grandmother.

Through Oliver, Hathorn illustrates the difference in opinions and the confusion in contemporary Australia about Australia’s war history and the bemusement about the escalation of memorials and ceremonies both in Australia and overseas. Oliver displays some aspects of the disconnectedness of people who are not impressed by the whole matter but he also illustrates the connections between generations through his reading of his great uncle’s war diaries and letters. Through the letters and diary entries, Oliver is inspired by someone very similar to him to find his own unique way to live life and to survive in contemporary Australia.

I truly believe that “Eventual Poppy Day” by Libby Hathorn will remain well-known and serve as a basis for people that are interested in the Gallipoli campaign. She based her story on authentic diaries from a genuine soldier serving under the ANZACs. To me, classic books are books that will not be eroded by the shifting sands of time. Classics are like a mountain, unshakeable and take more than a century to decay and be forgotten. Hathorn’s book is well written, with the reader constantly questioning the plot and the actions of Maurice.

Read more