Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ellis, Deboah No Safe Place

Ellis, Deboah No Safe Place
Groundwood see Douglas McIntyre 2010 208p 16.95
978-0-88899-973-3 ms/hs victims of world tragedies escape their past E-BN

Three teenagers from different challenging backgrounds meet and fight tremendous odds to reach freedom! One is a survivor of the war in Iraq, another escapes the sordid world of prostitution and finally, the third overcomes childhood in Communist Russia. Teenagers will love this book! It’s got conflict throughout: man vs. nature in a battle with the English Channel, man vs. man with war and bullying, man vs. society with the actions of prejudice perpetrated against the 3 protagonists, and man vs. himself as all 3 characters fight for survival after the world persecuted them. Typical Americans cannot imagine the horrors of war and the depths of anguish that children feel who have been rocked by other life challenges. On the other hand, children will relate to the strength of the friendships which have been forged by the end of the book as well as to the passion that each of the protagonists brings to a new life. Three young teenagers all come from different parts of the world, take over a smuggler’s boat, survive the night only to be caught by Americans on a cabin cruiser, overpower the Americans and make it to England after fighting a storm. Ellis’s talent for establishing a very exciting plot line is eclipsed by the realities that she exposes to the reader. Abdul is the principal character, gutsy, motivated and resourceful. He needs to survive to place his gold necklace on Penny Lane in honor of his friend in Iraq who was beaten to death. Cheslav, the Russian trumpet player with a background as horrific as Abdul’s, fights him until the end when, in a quick reversal, shows up at Penny Lane and gives Abdul reason to live. Rosalie, the little gypsy, watchful and clever, escaped abuse at the hands of people who lived off the fruits of a young girl’s worth to men and landed in the smuggler’s boat with Cheslav and Abdul. Sometimes Ellis’s language is poetic, almost metaphorical; other times, it is fast-paced and action-packed. The author uses an old technique of flashback to tell the stories of the teenagers’ lives before they come together, but this approach works! The theme? War has atrocities, but so does survival. By working together, 3 teenagers survive. Realistic Fiction Squaresky, Martha

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