Friday, December 14, 2007

Book Review Kanada by Eva Wiseman

If I'd known this was a young adult book, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. If I wasn't committed to the Canadian Book Challenge, I probably would have put it down half way. But I persevered, and I don't feel like reading it was a waste of time.

Ms Wiseman says in the Acknowledgements that the events chronicled in the story are the recollections of her parents before, during and after the Holocaust. Kanada is divided along those same timelines, Limbo, Hell, Paradiso. The heroine, Jutka is transported out of Limbo straight to Hell. Does she, at the end, find Paradise?

I think, collectively, we have become a little (tragically) jaded toward the horrors of the Nazi plan. We know what happened in Auschwitz, in the gas chambers and cattle trains. For me, reading about these horrors in a first person voice is a little jarring, a first person child's voice, a little more so, but it's not so different that I couldn't put the book down, not so excruciating that I couldn't put in a book mark and go make dinner.

I'm going to offer this book to the history department at the high school. Like Anne Frank, Eva Wiseman offers a personal view of the War that might strike a chord and bring history a little more alive.


John Mutford said...

Nicola also read this one for the Canadian Book Challenge. She seemed a little more taken with it, but I love getting two different perspectives. Out of curiousity, do you think your impressions of the book would have been different had you gone into it knowing it was a young adult novel ahead of time (assuming you still wanted to read it)?

Dorothy said...

I found the childish voice irritating at the start - it was hard not to keep reading in spite of it, but in hindsight I think Wiseman speaks in a way teenagers would find familiar. Knowing that THAT was what I was reading probably would have increased my enjoyment of the beginning of the book.

Lisa said...

I just read this for the Canadian Challenge too, and agree the voice was annoying but overall it was a good book, one young adults could learn from.