Skip to content Skip to navigation

Oliver's Wars

TitleOliver's Wars
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsWilson, Budge
DescriptorsBullying; Emotions; English Language; Families; Halifax; Nova Scotia; Novel; School; War

When Oliver's father goes away to fight in the Gulf War, his family moves east to Halifax, Nova Scotia to live with his grandparents. Oliver is not good at expressing emotions, and when he has difficulty coping with his father's absence, with his grandfather's grumpiness, with bullying at school, and with the taunts of the gym teacher, he keeps his pain inside. As the story progresses, Oliver learns to know himself and handle difficult circumstances more readily. Nova Scotia author Budge Wilson makes many references to specific Halifax locations throughout this novel.


Nova Scotia

Age Range


Author Profile: 

Twelve-year-old Oliver is surrounded by conflict. Oliver’s father is assigned to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, and Oliver, his mother, and his twin brother Jerry must move into his grandparents’ place. When he’s not walking on eggshells around his grouchy grandfather, Oliver endures teasing and taunting at his new school. Oliver must confront the conflict within himself and learn to confide in family when he feels overwhelmed.


     “That night, Oliver wrote a letter to his father. He told him about the plane ride, the blue house, the wooden banisters in the old school, his first view of the sea from Point Pleasant Park, about swimming with Harry, about his abstract picture. He put that letter in an envelope and stamped and addressed it.
      Then Oliver wrote him another letter. This is what he said.
      Dear Dad,
      It’s better here than it used to be. But often it’s still awful. The gym teacher says I’m a klutz. He also says I cheated and that I copied my assignment from Gus. So probably everyone else thinks I’m a cheat, too. And I’m scared of Gus and his gang. Gus. What a dis-
gus-ting name. And I wish Jerry was like he used to be. Most of all, I’m worried you’ll get killed or wounded or something.

Oliver put that letter in an envelope, sealed it carefully, and put it in his bureau drawer underneath his T-shirts. He felt better. Not all better. But some” (61).