Michael never knew his father, Roy, who was a fighter pilot and killed in the war. His mother couldn’t talk about him for a long time after his death, as they had only been married for six months. Roy was adopted by Michael’s twin aunties, Pish and Snowdrop (their nicknames), who have long lived in Folkestone by the sea with their dog Jasper. When Michael goes to visit them, he scatters snowdrops into the sea in memory of his father. On Michael and his mother’s last visit to Folkestone, they learn that Auntie Snowdrop’s health is deteriorating. Michaels mother asks Snowdrop to show Michael his father’s medals, and Snowdrop promises them to Michael, as well as whispering some cryptic words to him that don’t seem to make any sense.
Two weeks late, Snowdrop dies, and Pish promises to send Micael the package that Auntie Snowdrop left for him, but it doesn’t arrive until five years later, when Pish is weak and dying in a nursing home. When the parcel arrives, Michael finally understands the cryptic words that Auntie Snowdrop whispered to him all that time ago, and learns the story of prejudice, racism and heroics that surrounds his family history.
This story was based on the true story of Walter Tull, who was the first black combat officer in the British Army. I thought that instead of being a racy, exciting story, it was more thoughtful and really made me think about everything that I read. Initially it seemed a little dull, but when I got into the story it turned out to be a brilliant and exciting book. As I got to the end and found that it was based on a true story, I was completely stunned by just how far people could be pushed by racism. I liked this book a lot and I think it really opened a new door for me.
A Medal for Leroy