Saturday, 18 October 2008

Read-a-thon: second book down! (Oranges in no man's land by Elizabeth Laird)

I can't believe it's already hour 9! I'm getting slightly sleepy but no way I'm going to sleep soon, I still lots of reading ahead. I had a lovely microwaveable dinner of turkey with mash, carrots and stuffing, and now I'm sipping my first cup of coffee. Time for my second update!

What a great short read Oranges in no man's land was! I knew I was going to like Elizabeth Laird. Just looking at the books she has written makes me love her. A Little Piece of ground set in Palestine. Or Kiss the Dust set in Iraq. And this in Lebanon during the civil war. She writes for children about difficult matters, that even adults feel uncomfortable about. Judging by this short wonderful story, she does it with a lot of heart and intelligence.
Oranges in no man's land is the story of Ayesha, a ten year-old girl living in Beirut as a refugee with her granny and her two little brothers. Her father is always away looking for job, and her mother was killed during a bombing raid. After her mother's death, they had to move into a communal building, sharing a big flat with other refugees. Here she meets Samar, a deaf girl the same age as her and the two become friends despite the difficulties in communication. Then one day Ayesha's granny falls sick and Ayesha makes a very brave decision. She will have to cross the invisible green line that divides the city, to reach the doctor who has the medicine to save her granny. But crossing the green line means passing two checkpoints and walking through the no man's land in between. Can a little girl survive all this?

Despite the war subject, or maybe due to it, the story is full of small (and big) gestures of kindness. A checkpoint soldier cuddling a baby, a fruit seller offering an orange for free to a girl, a doctor offering help without thinking twice. The refugees shared their house generously and almost felt like a great family. In a war zone life is not kind, but in this strangely uplifting tale, it's kindness and generosity that made a difference and saved a woman's life. That and the reckless courage of a little 10 year-old girl.

This was my first book my Elizabeth Laird and it certainly won't be the last.

9 comments:

Icedream said...

I loved your reviews of both books but I am glad you found a lighter read this time. You are doing great with 2 books read already.
Hang in there.

Nymeth said...

I think it's amazing that you are both reading and doing reviews! I'll come back to read them properly later on.

valentina said...

Icedream, thanks, but I had already started the White Tiger and was half way through and this second one was very short!

Nymeth, I found reviewing the books before starting new ones helps me with clearing my head properly so that I'm read to dive into another story.I should totally adopt this technique for regular reviews. that was I would never be behind:D

Trish said...

woohoo!!!

Maree said...

Wow, reading AND reviewing _ keep up the great work!!!!!

Madeleine said...

It is amazing, no wonder you are dizzy :} I am starting to be a bit dizzy and hesitate to take a nap I am afraid to fall asleep

valentina said...

thanks guys! no naps or it will ooooover!gettin hungry again, probably time for more pot noodles!

grayskyeyes said...

Good luck for the rest of the Read-a-Thon and don't end up like this... http://www.ahajokes.com/crt579.html

Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness

Anonymous said...

ehm i started reading the book and its quite interesting it is sad ayesha lost her mum