Author: Sandi Toksvig
Genre: YA historical fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): Bamse is used to drama--his mother is a famous actress, and his best friend, Anton, is one of the most daring boys in all of Denmark. But this is different. He knows he should be afraid, but he doesn't know yet what he should be afraid of. The Germans? The British? The French?
"We were theater people. We didn't get involved in these things. It had nothing to do with us," he says. Yet now Bamse must decide: should he take his father's advice and not stir up trouble? Or should he follow his brother into the Resistance and take part in the most demanding role of his life?
Review: I have read a lot of World War II and Holocaust memoirs and books, but I just can't quite seem to get enough of them. What appealed to me most about this novel is that it is about that time period in Denmark. I have read a bit about Denmark in WWII and how the Danes helped their Jewish citizens, but this novel added even more to my knowledge.
The author based the book on her family's experience working in the resistance and helping the Jewish Danes to escape to Sweden. That lends even more credibility to the story and that's a good thing. The main character's mother is an actress so the chapters are like those in a play (Act I, Scene 1, etc). It kind of an interesting twist on the usual chapter titles.
The story of the Danish people during WWII is a wonderful one and the country is usually held up as an example of how a country can stand up to an occupying force and do the right thing. What I liked about this book is that the author points out times when German soldiers did the right thing and allowed Jews to escape, didn't turn Danes in who were in the resistance, all at personal peril. I think that's important: all Germans were bad and all Danes weren't good. Nations and their citizens aren't all right and all wrong, people are individuals. We would do well to remember this today.