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Small Acts of Amazing Courage    by Gloria Whelan order for
Small Acts of Amazing Courage
by Gloria Whelan
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Rosalind James is a fifteen year old British teen whose father commands the Second Battalion of the Gurkha Rifles. World War I has just ended and Rosalind's unit has returned to India from fighting against the Turks in Mesopotamia.

A willful girl whom her ailing mother has been unable to control, Rosalind narrates this story about her life in India and then, for a short while, England. While her father has been gone, the young girl has not only spent time with a friend exploring the bazaar, but she has also gone to lectures given by a man called Ghandi.

Of course, this is totally unacceptable as far as her father is concerned, since Ghandi advocates independence from England. Then to make matters worse, Rosalind saves an Indian baby from mutilation at the hands of a sinister man known as the Cobra who maintains a stable of deformed, youthful beggars.

Rosalind buys the baby from him and brings him home before settling the child in an orphanage that takes care of such infants. Unnerved by his daughter's behavior and his wife's inability to stem the tide, the Major sends her off to live with two aunts and attend a girls' school.

Unfazed by the forced hiatus away from home, Rosalind gets into just as much trouble with her aunts and actually manages to totally disrupt their once calm household. But in so doing, she also brings one aunt out of her shell and manages to make the woman stand up to her domineering sister.

In this excellent coming of age story filled with lots of Indian local color, you'll quickly discover the significance of the book's title. Not only Rosalind but her favorite aunt exhibit some amazing acts of courage that, although not earthshaking in nature, still manage to disrupt their immediate family.

Although National Book Award winner Gloria Whelan wrote this novel for adolescent readers, I thoroughly enjoyed it and think that many adults would find it a very satisfying read.

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