Wax: Pearl Harbor Changed Everything
by Therese Ambrosi Smith



Blue Star Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0-984-40007-2.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando
Posted on 08/21/2012

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Mainstream

Pearl Harbor Changed Everything, the subtitle of Therese Ambrosi Smith's first novel, Wax, carries the book's thrust. Indeed, the events of December 7, 1941 did change everything, not just the world of the warriors, men, and women who went to war, but also the world of the ones who remained at home. Some were merely waiting, but not all. Many women, unsung heroines, stepped forward and took the places of the working men who became fighting men, while others filled the new and critical jobs in the defense industry of a nation at war.

These women are personified by the iconic poster of Rosie the Riveter proclaiming, "We can do it!" Smith's story focuses on three "Rosies." Each left her ordinary and predictable life to work in a shipyard in Richmond, California. Their lives began to change the day they arrived and met as roommates and neighbors in the Airstream trailer park that served as their home for the duration, until the victory. And, then? They knew. The men would return to the jobs they had left. No longer at war, the nation did not need new ships nor did it need these women any longer. They were told, "Go home, go back to what you were doing before."

None of the three could see herself returning to her prewar life of low expectations. One returned home, but with a changed attitude, while the others sought new adventures. Yet the three lives remained tangled in an amazingly coincidental way as each sought to find more, not only as a working woman but as a full human being. The book offers not only a good look into the 1940s, both the war years and those following, but also into human nature. It comes to a satisfying, if somewhat predictable, end as each of the "Rosies" finds fulfillment.

The book was a finalist in both the Eric Hoffer Award for excellence in independent publishing and in the Next Generation Indie Book Award competitions.

Read an excerpt from this book.


Wax is the first novel of Therese Ambrosi Smith who is a graduate of the UCLA Writer's Program. In her non-writing life she has worked as a land surveyor's assistant, a park and playground designer, a bartender and a fishmonger. She often tours in a vintage travel trailer. You can learn more about Smith and follow her travel adventures on her website.

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