Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Dog in the Wood

I must be in the mood for books set during World War II, because just this morning I read a middle grade/YA book set in Eastern Germany in April 1945. Although I grew up when East and West Germany existed and remember the Berlin Wall coming down, I never really thought about how the two countries came to be, and that Germany was at one point prior to World War II, not divided.
Fritz is ten years old, living in Eastern Germany after the war. He wants to be a farmer like his grandfather when he grows up, and loves gardening. Fritz's grandfather was a vocal Nazi and when he finds out that Hitler has been defeated, he is unable to cope with reality. Fritz, his mother, and sister Irmi are left to await the coming Russian army. Lech, their Polish farmhand, also assists them in their struggle to survive, as many of the Russians try to exact revenge on the Germans. The new Communist policies that are put in place make survival very difficult for Fritz and his family and they are left with little, forced off their farm and away from the life they know.

Schroder's novel is based on her own father's childhood in Germany. Although he was younger than Fritz in this novel, there are some details he recalls of this period. Schroder has developed a novel that gives a glimpse into what life was like for the children growing up in East Germany after the war, and how this traumatic event shaped a generation of children who "were pawns in the events (163)."
Yet another extremely interesting young adult historical fiction account of a population affected by World War II. An amazing story of survival and resilience.


fourth Musketeer said...

I read this one too,not long ago (although I didn't review it on my blog). I thought it was an interesting story but I have to say I had a hard time developing a lot of sympathy for the German characters!

Anna said...

Sounds fascinating. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. I will link to your review on War Through the Generations.