Imagine what it's like to grow up during a war. We're not talking about a war happening hundreds of miles away—nope, we're talking about war coming right up to your doorstep, pouring into your living room, taking over your house and your life. Sounds about as terrible as it gets, right?
That's exactly what Geertrui faces in Postcards from No Man's Land. But she's not just in any war; she's in the middle of Holland during a battle in World War II. The stakes, to say the very least, are high.
Even though the book might take place during the war (and also during the anniversary of a battle), it's actually not really about war so much as it is about life itself. Aidan Chambers' novel asks us to think about love, death, identity, and sex. This 2002 Michael L. Printz award-winner is really more about growing up and deciding who you are than it is about fighting with Nazis. Although we never mind kicking a little Nazi butt.
So you've read about World War II in history class, but you're not sure how it relates to you. Enter Postcards from No Man's Land, a book that proves that the emotions we experience on the road to adulthood are a universal experience—whether you're growing up in war-torn Europe or stateside circa now.
Geertrui's memoir gives a face and a personality to the millions of people who died in concentration camps during World War II. This is not a novel like Night or The Diary of Anne Frank, which describe the horrors of concentration camps and how Jewish people were victimized during the war—instead it's the story of one young woman's life as battles rage all around her. This novel gives us a personal glimpse into the life of one couple and their struggle to survive one of the darkest times in human history, and in doing so, it offers a fresh and important perspective.
But don't worry—if you're thinking the book is just a tear-jerker, think again. Geertrui is a resilient protagonist, and there are plenty of twists thrown in the mix to keep things interesting and exciting. We're not saying you shouldn't have a tissue or two handy or anything, just that you probably don't need to take the whole box with you when you settle down to read. Sharing is caring, after all.
This novel is part of a six-book series about love, life, and identity.
You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can still admire them.
The author's blog about his books and life.
Find out what the experts make of the novel in these reviews.
Sara O'Reilly's charming, funny, and heartfelt commentary on the book in Time Out.
A fan made trailer for the book, complete with questions about the characters.
Author or Translator?
Aidan Chambers discusses the ideas behind his books and the translation of them.
Read to Me
Author Aidan Chambers talks about the story behind Postcards from No Man's Land.
Say My Name
Ever wanted to know where the author's name came from? Find out from the man himself.
Geertrui describes the men come down from in the sky, and now you can see their planes too.
We're Not Home Anymore
A battle-worn building in Oosterbeek, where Geertrui lives in the novel.
Time for a Close Up
See the mind of author Aidan Chambers—or the face of him at least.