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Soon – Morris Gleitzman

October 28, 2016

soonOne reviewer complained that it reflected badly on the Polish – well, many of them behaved appallingly after the war.

About the devastating post war environment of Poland. Food is scarce, theft abounds, black market trading is thriving, living conditions are terrible, and innocent people are still being shot. Felix finds himself living in a secret hideout amongst the ruins of the city buildings with Gabriek, a middle-aged man skilled at repairing things and making vodka. Gabriek provides Felix with protection, food, shelter, and most importantly friendship. Throughout the story Felix’s friendships are tested as he deals with life-threatening situations and ruthless gangs. Felix’s circumstances give him reason to be angry, depressed and hopeless, yet Felix remains optimistic and soon learns that some aspects of life are out of his control. He may not have the ability to solve these big problems but his capacity to love and care for others amid all that is happening around him is a mark of a true hero.

Is this series still meant for children, given that this book includes: “medical” experiments on Jews carried out in a concentration camp; rape of a child by soldiers and the child’s consequent pregnancy; extreme racial violence and ethnic cleansing, eg killing of a Ukrainian family and a boy by a gang called “Poland for the Poles”; violence leading to death of a baby; behaviour of people in a post-war environment, including theft, hiding, fear, hunger and insecurity; all kinds of murder e.g. attempted murder of two children by injection by a former concentration camp doctor, random murder, racist murder, revenge-driven murder; children carrying guns?

Then again, the real world can be a very sinful place and the likes of Bruno Bettlheeim suggest that if we shield children from it we do them a disservice.


“Soon, I hope, this is what will happen. People will start to get better. The city will start to heal. Me and Gabriek and Anya and her baby will live together in our hideout, safe and happy behind our sack curtains. A family”

“I hoped the Nazis would be defeated. And they were. I hoped the war would be over. And it was. I hoped we would be safe. But we aren’t.”

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