How Many Miles to Babylon is a novel about the Irish people in WW1, based in a true story. It has two main characters, called Alec and Jerry.
Alec is a young boy from a wealthy family, he has been isolated by his mother Alicia, because of their high social class since he was a child. He could not have relationships with low social class people. He is starting to get on well with his father Frederick, but his mother Alicia is obsessed with sending him to the war and have a hero at home. His father does not want the war for Alec, and he does not feel that Alec has to help the British in the war against Germany.
Alicia does not convince Alec, Alec’s main excuse to do not go to war is saying that he is having a good time with his father, so she tells him ‘What if your father is not your father’. This makes Alec to be very confused about all his life, was Frederick not his father? Or Alicia was just lying for making him going to war?
He goes out to a pub to drink and forgive all the things that are happening to him and to forgive that his life has no sense now. There, he meets Jerry, a boy from a poor family (low social class) drunk as always, and they start a conversation about the war. He was going to fight in the war because of the money and to be formed to use firearms that he will use when he came back to fight against British for independence. In the pub he started his relationship with Jerry.
When they were in the war Alec’s only friend was Jerry, and they could not be together because of his social class. In the middle of the war, Jerry
asked for an absence to look for his father, that was lost in the war, but the sergeant did not let him. He deserted to look for him, and the army accused him of being a spy for Germany. When he came back, the sergeant made Alec’s squad to execute Jerry, but while he was in the prison Alec killed him as an act of friendship. At the end of the story, Alec is going to be executed, he can write to his parents if he want, but his hate for Alicia made him not to write them.
I read this book in my residence in Ireland. This book was compulsory for English class, but I enjoyed it. I had like the end, how this act of friendship from Alec is made, because is much better to die killed by a gun than with a bag in your head executed. Alec recovered all the responsibility with this action, that the army had removed him.
Miguel Alonso Mozas 4º A ESO Jesuitas