Thursday, July 9, 2015

Soon by Morris Gleitzman

Soon by Morris Gleitzman
Published June 2015 Puffin Books Australia

I hoped the Nazis would be defeated.
And they were.

I hoped the war would be over.
And it was.

I hoped we would be safe.
But we aren't.

Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

The fifth book in what Morris Gleitzman calls this 'family of books'.  He explains in the back of Soon,  that instead of calling this a series he prefers to think of the books as a 'family of books'.   Each one standing alone.  This is true, they do stand alone very well, as it's been a few years since I read After, and the fact that I couldn't remember the story vividly did not detract from my enjoyment of this latest instalment.

Like the other books in this series, I flew through this one, I think I read it in under 2 hours.  As I was flying through Soon, I did stop and think about why it was so easy to read?  This is what I came up with: the story is all action, right form the start it's 'go go go', with twists and turns in every chapter,  so that's how you read it...once you start you don't stop.  I think this explains in some part why the books are so popular with reluctant readers.  Obviously the stories are having an impact on the readers, but for those struggling to engage with books, the writing style in these books make reading easier, as it's so compelling.

This story shows that when a war is over, life doesn't always go back to how it used to be.  In the case of Felix, things can never be the same anyway, as he has lost his family, but he had hoped to feel safe...he isn't.  Shelter is hard to come by, food is scarce, and violent gangs are taking it upon themselves to rid Poland of 'vermin'...Germans, Austrians, Jews, Ukranians, Russians.  With his medical skills Felix is much sought after, and not helping the bad guys doesn't seem to be an option.

The 'recommender of books to schools' part of me does want to say, that while these books are easy to read, Gleitzman doesn't skirt over the realities of war.  Some of the scenes/topics are graphic and confronting, so be aware of  that.  This doesn't change the fact that this is a great read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it,  but parents/teachers/librarians need be ready to talk about the issues bought up in this novel...especially if buying for a Primary School library.


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