Posts Tagged ‘war’
I’ve read a number of memoirs written by Jews about their life during the Holocaust, how they survived and how they rebuilt their lives afterwards but this is the first book I’ve read from a non-Jewish viewpoint.
Liubinas was born in Lithuania and fled with her family from the Russians to the West. They had an horrific time hiding in the forest and being hid by neighbouring families until they were sent to a refugee camp in Germany. They eventually managed to migrate to Australia in 1949 and rebuilt their lives in Melbourne, buying a house and with Liubinas marrying here and having a family.
This is a wonderful book, actually three books as it’s been divided into three sections with the first one being their time in Lithuania and Germany, the second one being their time in Australia until her marriage and the third being Liubinas first visit to Lithuania. It’s interesting to see how people other than Jews were persecuted during the Holocaust. I did know about this, the figures I heard as a child were 6 million Jews killed and 6 millions others, but I’ve never managed to read any first hand accounts of it. Liubinas talks about the Jews being persecuted and actually tries to help someone at one point. The only difference I found between the Jews and Liubinas’ family is the celebrations, Liubinas’ family openly celebrated Christmas while the Jews hide all possible celebrations. We also get some information of how the Communists treated Lithuanians i.e. not well.
I loved this book, it was well written, reasonably well proofed but I felt it could use a good deal of editing. I thought it was too Australianised and would have liked to have more Lithuanian in it (with translations, of course). Liubinas calls her parents “Mother” and “Father” which I’m sure are not the words she would have used in Lithuania, I would have like to have seen the Lithuanian words and a translation as well as a glossary at the end with all the Lithuanian words, their translation and a pronunciation guide. Having said that it’s really the only problem I have with the book, it has graphic accounts of living as a Lithuanian under Communist rule, then living under German rule with a hair raising escape in good Hollywood tradition. The family had such trouble adjusting to life in Melbourne and this is shown very nicely. I found myself sympathising so much with them, it’s incredibly courageous to emigrate to a country where you don’t understand the language or the customs. The language was a little simple but I’m bearing in mind English was not her first language, nor her second, in fact I’ve lost count of the number of languages she could speak enough of to make herself understood.
Anyway, I fully recommend this book but you’re not getting it from me as this one’s staying on my shelf.
First came the Tomorrow series, followed by The Ellie Chronicles. This book is the third volume in The Ellie Chronicles. I managed to pick up Incurable and Circle of Flight at the same time and thought I’d picked up the earlier book of the two, unfortunately I managed to get it wrong and so I’ve been reading them out of order.
The Tomorrow Series is a very well written series of books set in Australia about an invasion. It’s not WWIII, but it’s bad enough as an unspecified country invades us and tries to take over the country. A group of teenagers fight back. The Ellie Chronicles take over when peace is negotiated. It’s an interesting peace and not everyone agrees with it. Ellie has adopted a boy and appears to be a target for the invaders.
This book has all the same qualities as Tomorrow When the War Began. Great writing, believable characters and lots of tension. In this book, Gavin, Ellie’s adopted brother, is kidnapped and she has to get him back. She has to go over the border and mix with the invaders in order to rescue him. This is not as easy as James Bond makes it out to be and when they are eventually rescued the bruises are obvious.
This is another recommended read. Actually, I’d recommend any of John Marsden’s books. At this point I’m making assumptions that all of his books are as good as these two series, that may be a poor assumption and I’ll read some of his other books in due course and let you know.
John Marsden was a secondary school teacher before he started writing books and it shows with his writing. He has a knack for getting insider a teenager’s head and explaining how they’re feeling using their language. Let me tell you a bit about this book.
Seven teenagers go away to a place they call Hell for a camping holiday before going back to school. They have a great time and eventually come back to find war has started and everyone’s been herded into the showground. This is when they find they have to grow up and decide to take action against the enemy. They’re a mix of townsfolk and farmers and are friends from school. The action is located in a district somewhere in Australia, near to a port and some stunning scenery.
This is a very intense book, it starts off as a normal teenage book with normal teen relationships . There are some hints fairly early on as to what is likely to happen but I didn’t see them the first time I read it. The first time I was concentrating on the raw emotion that comes with this book and not any peripheral information that might actually be useful. There’s seven books in the series and I guess I’m going to have to make sure to read them all again, in order this time, to get the full impact.
I managed to miss the movie they made based on this book when it came out in the cinemas so I was fairly quick to borrow it when it came into the video shops. I watched it yesterday and was just amazed at how like the book it is. Like every movie made from a book, it’s incredibly hard to translate things exactly from book to movie so some things have been changed but they’re very much within the feel of the book. The actors they’ve chosen look almost exactly like they’ve been described in the book, except for Ellie, who I imagined as being more rugged and less slender but they’ve got Robyn down pat, the actor looks just young and innocent enough to pull off some of the scenes she’ll need to do should they make some of the later books into movies.
If you haven’t read this series or seen the movie, I can’t stress enough how much you need to read and view them. They are very much current Australia with current issues. The movie has been updated in that the heroes have mobile phones and use Skype, but it hasn’t been updated by much as the book was only written in 1993. There is no gender inequality, with both Ellie and Homer seeming to take charge, in fact, it’s Ellie who loses her cool first and tells one of the guys off for falling asleep at his post and Homer calms her down. It’s at this point that there’s some swearing and for the first time I wasn’t shocked or upset by the words as they just felt the perfect words for Ellie to use, she was upset and needed to get her message across in the most concise way, so she swore. I can understand that and have done the same thing on occasion, but never with her conciseness.
There is death and mayhem in both the book and the movie. One of the young girls is shot and her boyfriend, who’s fallen in love with her, takes her into the hospital to ensure she has a chance of surviving, knowing that the moment he’s seen he’ll be taken into custody and put with everyone else. This is what he does and they both manage to use the same cover story so as not to let the invaders know there are other teenagers out there.
In the book the invaders are not given a race, we are lead to believe they are from some country, possibly Asian. This is made slightly clearer in the movie as we actually see their faces a little. I’m not good at figuring out where different people are from but I’m sure someone else could do that very easily from the little we saw. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, I’d hate for it to ruin relationships between the two countries.
I have some books by John Marsden for sale on the website, but only the third book in this series. I’d list this copy of Tomorrow, When the War Began but it’s more than a little dogeared and creased and is only fit for the rubbish bin.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Even schoolchildren went into action in the weeks before the war began. Scout troops in Zahala had dug foxholes.