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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on January 1, 2004
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.
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on August 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.
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on 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!
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on June 25, 2001
Where to start? Aidan Chambers manages to wonderfully mix History with the troubles of teenage life (me being 16, i understand that perfectly) Jacob (main character) is a lad with an unconventional homelife, who, at 17, travels to Amsterdam to visit his Grandfathers grave instead of his Grandmother. His first few days are, shall we say, hateful, but, as the story unfolds, his stay becomes interspersed with joy, increasing his love of the city. In his short time in Amsterdam, he makes life changing discoveries, crosses milestones every teenager dreads and he discovers a whole new side to his family. Life as a teenager is never easy, however, judging by the changes in Jacobs life, maybe we all should make a life changing journey to Amsterdam to visit old relatives... both dead and alive. However, Jacob's story is just half of the novel... the other half takes place in Arnhem (those who do European History will know this was a major Battle in WW2) where another life changing experience shocks the reader into loving a character, who in Jacob's time, is only a minor one. Chambers covers... "depression" in this wonderously diverse novel. Well deserved the Carnegie Medal.
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on May 4, 2002
this book is beautifully written. the emotions bought to life in this books are magnificent, especially the parts about geertrui's life in holland in the war. this book is masterfully written and is a very enjoyable, unput-downable book.
i think this book also captures quite well the attitude of the dutch, i loved this book so much that i now really want to go back to amsterdam to see all the places mentioned and meet all the people!
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on July 16, 2001
The story of Jacob really captures the joys and trials of being a teenager. The plot is also very intriguing and historically accurate. This is an excellent book.
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on January 28, 2003
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.
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