For Esmé with Love and Squalor
It's kind of funny to think of a thirteen-year-old girl as the mentor to a guy in his mid-twenties, but then again, Esmé is not your average thirteen-year-old girl. Even though she's young, she's really been through the wringer – she's lost both of her parents, and now feels like she has to bring up her five-year-old brother (imagine trying to do all of that in eighth grade!). However, when life hands Esmé lemons, she briskly slices them up and puts them in her tea. While she's not exactly a happy-go-lucky, singing and dancing "Annie" figure, she attempts to deal with all of her troubles with grace and strength. For the most part, she succeeds, and her youthful resilience inspires the narrator/Sergeant X to pick himself up again at the end of the war.