Friday, 7 May 2010
Review: Now by Morris Gleitzman
Released: May 6th, 2010
Grade rating: B+
Morris Gleitzman's acclaimed story of friends Felix and Zelda in Nazi-occupied Poland has captured the hearts and minds of readers worldwide. In Now he delivers the final chapter, bringing this most moving of stories into the present day.
I'm a big fan of Morris Gleitzman's highly underrated WWII series, and have been anticipating this title since I first read Once and Then over a year ago. Now is set in present day Australia and, though it's not the best of the trilogy, it's a brilliant end to Felix's heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story.
Gleitzman's series has been consistently shocking, funny and important, and has mostly focused on Felix as a young boy. In Now, Felix is an old man, with a successful life and a loving family, including 11-year-old granddaughter Zelda. Her namesake comes from Felix's best friend Zelda, who heavily features in Once and Then, and who assists him in his bid to survive the Holocaust. It's a name that carries a lot of history for Felix, and is a name that his granddaughter is desperate to live up to.
A natural disaster strikes Felix's home, forcing both grandfather and granddaughter into confronting their demons, their fears and some home truths. Their relationship grows even more, as Zelda tries to help Felix come to terms with what he lost in the 1940s. It's not quite as heart-wrenching as Then, though I did tear up a few times as Felix relived his nightmare of a past.
As with previous books in the series, I wanted more, and could have read three times the relatively short page count. I love Felix, both as an innocent child and as a wise old man. He's the epitome of the word good, and is a fictional testament to all those people who survived the horrific events of the Holocaust. I'll never forget his story, or the stories of the real survivors who lived on to tell their tales.