The Book Reviews – Website

August 30, 2009

Postcards from No Man’s Land

Filed under: P — thebookreviews @ 9:46 pm
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Postcards from No Man’s Land

Author: Aidean Chambers

Page Length: 312

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Historical Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Jacob’s grandmother is ill, and Jacob must take a trip to Amsterdam in her place. The purpose of Jacob’s journey to Amsterdam is to see his grandfather’s (a World War II veteran) burial site. Jacob meets the elderly ailing woman who nursed his grandfather during the war and learns much more than he was expecting about his family’s past. Along the journey, Jacob discovers new friends and new feelings he never knew he had. Geertrui shares with Jacob the secrets of his grandfather’s past as she weaves the tales of their adventures during World War II. 

REVIEW: Chambers wrote a masterful story that was outside the realm of the “normal” historical fiction novel. The author does a wonderful job of blending past and present events as the chapters shift from Geertrui in the past to Jacob in the present. In the end, it is revealed that Geertrui has recorded the story for Jacob in her journal – her last act before her assisted suicide is scheduled to take place. Be warned that the book addresses Jacob’s developing awareness of his sexuality and his attraction to both men and women. Bisexuality becomes a topic among more than one of the characters. The story of the war and Geertrui’s love for Jacob’s grandfather is wonderfully told. The reader gets a realistic sense of the urgency and danger present during the war.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: sequence of events, historical connections, character traits, methods of writing, compare and contrast

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: topic of bisexuality, pages 199-200 sex between Geertrui and a married soldier

RELATED BOOKS: Breaktime, Dance on My Grave, Now I Know, The Tollbridge, The Diary of Anne Frank, Four Perfect Pebbles

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: The Diary of Anne Frank

ART CONNECTIONS: Amsterdam – Dutch Resistance Museum online

http://goamsterdam.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=goamsterdam&cdn=travel&tm=12&gps=117_2_1419_706&f=00&su=p531.50.336.ip_&tt=3&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//

www.dutchresistancemuseum.nl/museum/en/museum

MUSIC CONNECTIONS: Hit Songs from World War 2

http://nfo.net/usa/ww2.html

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.worldwar-2.net/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II

http://www.annefrank.org/content.asp?pid=1&lid=2

http://www.aidanchambers.co.uk/

REVIEWED BY:  Dayna Taylor

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