Customer Reviews


15 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4.0 out of 5 stars A mature book for a mature audience
Chambers' story is an accurate piece of historical fiction; however, it is obvious after just the first chapter that Chambers does not intend for his novel to be primarily labeled as historical fiction. Rather, he intends his novel to be regarded as a coming-of-age story told in both the present and the past. As Chambers develops the narratives of Jacob and Geertrui, he...
Published on March 13 2003 by Megan Piersma

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars This book made me vomit.
First of all, I don't know a 17 year old kid who talks like this Jacob does. Warning: every character in this novel is brilliant; full of poetry quotes and witty comebacks. The Old Jacob is this legend; this British James-Bond type who no woman can resist. He cheated on his wife for pete's sake! The characters of Sarah and Geertrui are identical in this story. All...
Published on Oct. 8 2003


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4.0 out of 5 stars A mature book for a mature audience, March 13 2003
By 
Megan Piersma (Grand Rapids, MI) - See all my reviews
Chambers' story is an accurate piece of historical fiction; however, it is obvious after just the first chapter that Chambers does not intend for his novel to be primarily labeled as historical fiction. Rather, he intends his novel to be regarded as a coming-of-age story told in both the present and the past. As Chambers develops the narratives of Jacob and Geertrui, he shows that feelings of confusion, excitement and fear are common to all teenagers, regardless of their historical setting, as they struggle to come into their own.
Jacob and Geertrui are real, three-dimensional characters. They become persons with whom the reader can easily identify because Chambers allows the reader to hear their thoughts and observe how their emotions influence their decisions and often times change their rational or at the very least broaden their perspectives. I was thankful that Chambers explores the characters' emotions so in depth, because I believe that emotions are often more powerful than we realize and they are especially overwhelming during the teenage years. It is important that the emotions of Jacob and Geertrui are particularly potent for they find themselves in stressful situations.
The mature nature of Chambers' novel is shown in the first chapter. A mysterious, sexy stranger comes on to Jacob in an outdoor café. Jacob feels a rush of excitement because he's not used to attracting girls, but his excitement changes to bewilderment when Jacob realizes that he has struck a boy's fancy, not a girl's. I was just as surprised as Jacob to discover that Ton was in fact a boy, and I felt Chambers' description of this discovery was perhaps too vivid. (Jacob realizes Ton's true identity when Ton presses Jacob's hand to his crotch and Jacob feels his penis.)
Sexuality and sexual discovery are main themes in Postcards from No Man's Land. Chambers does not condone a particular lifestyle in his exploration of these themes, and I was thankful that he left the interpretation of Jacob's and Geertrui's sexual experiences up to the reader. However, I found it troubling that Chambers assumes Jacob is no longer a virgin because he is seventeen and that Geertrui and Jacob's grandfather can not restrain themselves from being sexually intimate.
Although Chambers does not seem to entertain abstinence as an option for teenagers, he does show that Jacob's and Geertrui's sexual choices, in particular, have consequences. Geertrui becomes pregnant with the child of a man who is never her husband, but the husband of someone else. Her pregnancy makes it necessary for her to marry another man who she does not love and to keep the true identity of her child's father a secret until her husband dies. Chambers accurately shows that Geertrui's relationship with Jacob's grandfather brings both pleasure and pain, but thankfully he illustrates how Geertrui's pain was tempered by the grace and forgiveness of others.
Overall, I was pleased with Chambers' novel. He writes with integrity and allows his reader to explore difficult issues without the fear of being judged. I would recommend this book to teenagers ages sixteen and above.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but definately for kids 14+, Jan. 27 2004
By 
"darastar" (Virginia, United States) - See all my reviews
This book is very different. There are two main characters, one a 17 year old English boy in the 90's and a Dutch family friend who is dying in his time, but knew his grandfather during WWII. The book is set in Amsterdam, so it incorporates a lot of Dutch, which is frustrating at first, but then it becomes second nature to find the translation of the phrase, or to remember it from earlier, and this adds to the sense of place.
There are a lot of adult themes covered in this book, so it's best if you have a mature teenager reading it, and are prepared to discuss it afterwards. Some of those topics include: homosexuality, bisexuality, euthanasia, war, and marital fidelity.
This book is well written, so chances are that you won't get lost, and the different writing styles make it difficult to get bored. As soon as something gets exciting in one part of the story, it switches off, making you want more.
Belongs on the bookshelf of the mature adolescent, and the discerning adult reader of adolescent fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, compelling, deeply sincere and thought-provoking., Jan. 1 2004
This review is from: Postcards From No Man's Land (Definitions Series) (Paperback)
I'm a teen and I think this book is really beautiful. The first word that comes to mind as I write this review is "sincere". Because it talks with you directly, it goes at once to the centre of the subjects It describes. It doesn't get lost in narrative embroidery and set-ups. As you read you can hear the characters talking and watch the narration with your eyes.
About the narration, it's really beautifully built: In a chapter we are told the adventures of Jacob Todd, teenager, through the city of Amsterdam, and in the following we get to know about Jacob Todd, his homonymous grandfather and the events he was involved in in the Netherlands as soldier during the II World War, then back to the young grandchild, and then again with the soldier: A continuous change of scene that more and more induces you to keep reading and to find out the link between the two characters.
I think the power of the book is due to the frankness and realism it uses to describe the story and to approach the very important thematics in it.
They are euthanasy and mainly love. Love is the centre of the book I think, and by love the book means a lot of things: the love between a grandmother and a grandchild, the love beetween a grandchild and his dead grandfather, the love between a girl and a boy. The book deals with this one with no emphasizing, just with a sentiment of naturalness and frank discovery I have seen nowhere else.
I was somehow shocked by this thought-provoking book, and I definitely suggest it to all the people (teens and adults) who are interested in a mature reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars This book made me vomit., Oct. 8 2003
By A Customer
First of all, I don't know a 17 year old kid who talks like this Jacob does. Warning: every character in this novel is brilliant; full of poetry quotes and witty comebacks. The Old Jacob is this legend; this British James-Bond type who no woman can resist. He cheated on his wife for pete's sake! The characters of Sarah and Geertrui are identical in this story. All the Dutch quotes are tedious and irritating. Ton makes me want to vomit. Jacob just needs to come out of the closet and get it over with. The kid is not normal.
On top of all of this, the story was mediocre. All the homosexual references made my stomach turn. Of course the author had to put that he is married on the jacket flap to let everyone know that he is not gay. This guy sounds real confident about his sexuality.
I'm going to jump off a cliff because this book makes it seem normal to have sexual relations with men, women, sheep, and insects. Free love! That's the ticket! Who needs God! Eat, drink and fornicate!
Pure filth...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A sophisticated, emotionally charged work for mature readers, Aug. 7 2003
Winner of the Carnegie Medal--one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes--Postcards from No Man's Land is a powerful tale of past and present, told through dual narratives. When 17-year-old Jacob Todd arrives in Holland to attend a ceremony commemorating the World War II Battle of Arnhem and to pay his respects to his dead grandfather, little does he know that his journey will bring him new ideas about love, life, death, and art; friendships with young people who cross gender lines; discoveries of his own identity and sexuality; and a shocking truth kept secret for 50 years and revealed in a diary written specifically for him by Geertrui Van Riet, the now ailing woman who had taken care of his grandfather during the war and, unbeknownst to her family and his, shared with him a passionate but short-lived love affair. Philosophical, comic, painful, emotional, heart-warming, and sensual, the novel is written with exquisite detail--perhaps a little too much detail at times--and a sophistication rarely seen in American novels for teens. The setting of Amsterdam, a city both modern and old, is a perfect reflection of the parallel narratives. The characters are likable and admirable yet realistic, and demonstrate strength and open-mindedness as they attempt to work through personal conflicts and difficulties, many of which are never resolved--an aspect of the novel which may dissatisfy some readers. Not to be regarded as just a work of historical fiction, the novel's treatments of the universal young adult themes of first love, independence, and friendship demonstrate careful thought and originality. Already translated into eleven languages, the novel will surely maintain its resonance among generations of readers to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Youth Fiction?, June 25 2003
By 
Tonya B. Williams (Hindman, Ky United States) - See all my reviews
I must begin by saying that I really like the book. The storyline was captivating and I felt as if I got to know the characters and make a connection with them. I am not going to review the content of the book in summary form, there's enough reviews on here for that, instead, I am going to raise the question, is this youth fiction? I agree, the story, one half of it anyway, is dealing with a seventeen year old "coming of age". However, just because one of the main characters is 17, I do not believe makes a book "youth fiction". The format was complex, each chapter alternating from 1944 to the present. I found myself, as a 26 year old who thinks of herself as a pretty avid reader, having trouble with the format. I think the story itself was great, but I question how many young readers would actually make it to the end of the book? The topics; sexual orientation, euthanasia, eternal love, death, independence, are all topics that, individually, appeal to teens. Postcards, however, mixes all of these topics into a difficult format between two simultaneously told stories. I think it is just out of the teen interest/readability level. As an educator, I believe this book would be much more appealing to adults than teens. I would not have made such a conclusion prior to reading the book, but once I did, I felt Chambers missed his intended audience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Zzzzzzzzzzz........., May 4 2003
By 
Goneril (Northwest, USA) - See all my reviews
Books dealing with the Holocaust, I believe, can be shockingly upfront, and wrenching...Postcards from No Man's Land was a terrible leafing...rather like something you'd like to throw at the furnace, really. Half the book was obsessed with sex, and "growing up." I admit...I did not finish the book. I was appalled at Chambers lack of reality and genuity.
Sometimes, when I read stuff like this, I think, if this awful stuff can get published, than so can I. They REPETITIVELY refer to the Anne Frank diary...a nice reference, but superbly annoying when it's talked about over and over again. Jacob simply loves to induldge in the kisses of Peter and Anne, and why Peter held back. Really.
I am shocked and galled that this book received the Printz award!! There must have been an extremely low field that year. *sigh* If you're looking for a terrific(and something that's actually BELIEVABLE), I insist on checking out: The Pianist, Diary of Anne Frank, Sky, and etc.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars "...dealing with life's emotional geography...", April 18 2003
The story is all encompassing with enough of "literary gaps" to draw the young adult reader in: heart, body and soul. The above reviews have told enough of POSTCARDS' plot (too much really), so instead I invite you to partake in a reading experience of a lifetime. The dual storylines, multi-faceted character and no-easy-answers themes pulsate throughout the novel. POSTCARDS lives up to the author's own mission statement. "I will not compromise on language or content. At 15 people can handle the same language as me, they're just as complicated as me, and are very interested in thinking about important questions for the first time." (Aidan Chambers as quoted in Moira Dunkin's report online at:...)
Weaving the threads of Anne Frank's and James Joyce's writing into his own tapestry of an exquisite masterpiece, the LA Youth Writer's Group magnificently sums Chambers' feat of writing up:
The judges, from the LA Youth Libraries Group, were unanimous in their choice: "It is a rites of passage book that supports young people in dealing with life's emotional geography. The writer trusts young readers to make up their own minds about life's big issues. This is an outstanding novel which lingers in the mind; every word is well chosen." (see: above Library Association Record website cited above)
The only "no man's land" that exists is the land that doesn't bring POSTCARDS to the teen reader. Kudos to Aidan Chambers! Kudos!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A mature novel for a mature audience, March 13 2003
By 
Megan Piersma (Grand Rapids, MI) - See all my reviews
Chambers´¿ story is an accurate piece of historical fiction; however, it is obvious after just the first chapter that Chambers does not intend for his novel to be primarily labeled as historical fiction. Rather, he intends his novel to be regarded as a coming-of-age story told in both the present and the past. As Chambers develops the narratives of Jacob and Geertrui, he shows that feelings of confusion, excitement and fear are common to all teenagers, regardless of their historical setting, as they struggle to come into their own.
Jacob and Geertrui are real, three-dimensional characters. They become persons with whom the reader can easily identify because Chambers allows the reader to hear their thoughts and observe how their emotions influence their decisions and often times change their rational or at the very least broaden their perspectives. I was thankful that Chambers explores the characters´¿ emotions so in depth, because I believe that emotions are often more powerful than we realize and they are especially overwhelming during the teenage years. It is important that the emotions of Jacob and Geertrui are particularly potent for they find themselves in stressful situations.
The mature nature of Chambers´¿ novel is shown in the first chapter. A mysterious, sexy stranger comes on to Jacob in an outdoor caf├ę. Jacob feels a rush of excitement because he´¿s not used to attracting girls, but his excitement changes to bewilderment when Jacob realizes that he has struck a boy´¿s fancy, not a girl´¿s. I was just as surprised as Jacob to discover that Ton was in fact a boy, and I felt Chambers´¿ description of this discovery was perhaps too vivid. (Jacob realizes Ton´¿s true identity when Ton presses Jacob´¿s hand to his crotch and Jacob feels his penis.)
Sexuality and sexual discovery are main themes in Postcards from No Man´¿s Land. Chambers does not condone a particular lifestyle in his exploration of these themes, and I was thankful that he left the interpretation of Jacob´¿s and Geertrui´¿s sexual experiences up to the reader. However, I found it troubling that Chambers assumes Jacob is no longer a virgin because he is seventeen and that Geertrui and Jacob´¿s grandfather can not restrain themselves from being sexually intimate.
Although Chambers does not seem to entertain abstinence as an option for teenagers, he does show that Jacob´¿s and Geertrui´¿s sexual choices, in particular, have consequences. Geertrui becomes pregnant with the child of a man who is never her husband, but the husband of someone else. Her pregnancy makes it necessary for her to marry another man who she does not love and to keep the true identity of her child´¿s father a secret until her husband dies. Chambers accurately shows that Geertrui´¿s relationship with Jacob´¿s grandfather brings both pleasure and pain, but thankfully he illustrates how Geertrui´¿s pain was tempered by the grace and forgiveness of others.
Overall, I was pleased with Chambers´¿ novel. He writes with integrity and allows his reader to explore difficult issues without the fear of being judged. I would recommend this book to teenagers ages sixteen and above.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars For people who like to think, Jan. 28 2003
By A Customer
A book of suspense and ideas from a writer who recognizes the bravery of those who seek new experiences, whether of the mind, heart, or body.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xab0297ec)

This product

Postcards From No Man's Land (Definitions Series)
Postcards From No Man's Land (Definitions Series) by Aidan Chambers (Paperback - April 17 2001)
Used & New from: CDN$ 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews