Saturday, April 28, 2012
Book Review of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Author: Lois Lowry
Type of book: World War 2, resistance, bravery, 1943, secrets, Germans, Jews, Denmark
Year it was published: 1989
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think about life before the war. But it's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching in their town.
The Nazis won't stop. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated" so Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family.
Then Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission. Somehow she must find the strength and courage to save her best friend's life. There's no turning back now.
The Danish, Johansens in particular, are portrayed as a loving and well rounded family, along with others. I checked a history book I had, whether or not this book might kind of like apologist Holocaust literature (something like certain people being portrayed as kind in a country that wasn't kind to Jews,) and the description does match up to Number the Star descriptions. Annemarie is a brave young girl who learns interesting lessons about her family, things she hasn't known before. In my opinion the characters don't change throughout the novel but remain the same.
The less someone knows, the more brave they are.
This is in third person narrative from Annemarie's point of view and briefly covers the war in Denmark. The Germans are accepted as commonplace and only in beginning does Mrs. Johansen impart on the girls the danger of Germans knowing about them. I had trouble understanding the Psalm 147 and how it relates to the star that Ellen Rosen wore.
Lois Lowry is the author of many well-loved books including The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline; Switch-around; Taking Care of Terrific; Autumn Street; Us and Uncle Fraud; Rabble Starkey; Anastasia Again!; Anastasia, Ask your Analyst; Anastasia on Her Own; Anastasia at Your Service; Anastasia Has the Answers; Anastasia's Chosen Caree; and All About Sam, all available in Yearling editions. Ms. Lowry divides her time between Boston and New Hampshire.
I think in my entire life I've read this book three or four times; first time when I was in fifth grade, and other times as an adult.The book covers a topic that's not well known; The Danish rescue of Jews as well as how they stood up to Germans. This is a children's book, thus its written a lot in black and white so to speak. The lesson that one learns is interesting, something that I doubt is in other novels.
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)