Postcards from No Man’s Land

by Aidan Chambers

Brief Summary: Jacob’s history lies in Amsterdam in that his grandfather died their during WWII. He has gone to visit the family that took care of his grandfather while he was injured in place of his sick grandmother. His intentions are to visit the grave for a yearly memorial to the battle and meet the elderly woman who cared for his grandfather in final days. His trip starts off poorly and will basically change his life forever.

Kell’s Chatty Review: What DIDN’T happen in this book. I’m not sure I can say whether I liked it or didn’t because I’m still processing all the issues that were brought up in this book. First and foremost there’s this tale of Gertrui – the Dutch woman who cared for Jacob’s grandfather- which is heartbreaking and terrifying and full of war and brutality. Then there’s the idea of assisted suicide, what love/marriage is, sex and Anne Frank all joined up in it. A lot to take in.

Progressive: I must admit, I am most impressed that Chambers took such a progressive stance on so many issues. Not just big things, but also many little things (like how Jacob chose to live with his grandma because it worked better than living with his family). He also presented his ideas in clear, cohesive (and almost never solved) arguments that really got to the heart of the issue.

Writing Style: I don’t want to say I didn’t like the writing style, it just was something I was in no ways used to. There would be long passages of unattributed dialog, followed by long paragraphs of descriptive narrative. By the end of the book, you understand why there was such a distinction, but it really made it feel like I was reading two different books at times.

Ending? What Ending: I literally said “That’s it?” at the end of the book. I know the resolution was more of a moral resolution rather than a real one, but lets be honest here – I like to be told what happens.

What Life Lesson I learned from this book: This book is FULL of life lessons (seriously. It has to have been challenged SOMEWHERE.). I can’t pick just one of the big ones. So how about I go with a small one: remember to express and show gratitude.

What I most wanted to do after reading this book: I was FASCINATED by all of the history WWII information. I really wanted to read The Diary of Anne Frank (particularly the one that wasn’t edited by her father.)

Where this book came from: I bought it!

Note: Once again, I’m sadly too tired to go back and edit this right now. So if you read this before I get a chance to fix anything, please don’t judge.

Fun Fact: I have now read all the Printz winners! Woohoo!


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