This is one of those stories that you wish wasn't true, yet you know that it was, for so many people.
Jeremiah Prins, an old man now telling his boyhood story, is a true character.
He was the kind of boy that we don't write about anymore, and he sounds just like the youngsters who lived in the 1940's.
He's respectful to adults- but he certainly has his own mind.
He's a scrapper who fights often, but always fights clean.
He never expected to fall hard for a golden haired little girl, but he has a secretly romantic heart.
He's got too much individuality, too much integrity, too much honesty, and too much intelligence to ever cheat or ever give in.
Jeremiah's narrating voice is perfect.
He guides us back first to a banyan tree and a marble game, and then to a girl, and an enemy invasion, and the loss of his father and all of life as he knew it. He takes us into a camp with his mother and sisters and brother. He shows us how women and children were stripped of their dignity by captors who had renounced their own humanity.
First he tells us about imperfect-but-kindly innocence, then he opens our eyes to cruelty.
His descriptions of the Japennkamp are chilling, and the history level is high.
This is one of the few Christian fiction books I can actually recommend to a man. Despite the beautiful girl's face on the cover, the "romance" was properly reserved. This is a story of survival, of trying to keep "soul and body together." Fighting for food and medicine and shelter and sanity and strength for one more day. Some people had more strength, others had far less. You'll want to cry as you read.
I think my father would treasure this story. I did.
Thank you Waterbrook for my review copy.