LEAVING POINT by Betty Vander Els


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Vander Els' first novel, The Bomber's Moon, traced the story of two missionary children during the Japanese invasion of China, as they made their way to India to wait out the war. Here, Ruth, protagonist of the earlier novel, narrates a new story. Having returned to China after the war to continue their mission, the family is placed under house arrest during the difficult period following the socialist revolution. Ruth makes friends with a young communist idealist, though her parents and their associates may be jeopardized by the friendship. Finally, Ruth and her family are permitted to leave and are reunited in Hong Kong; Ruth's faith in Chuin-mei, despite the political differences between them, is proven to be well-founded. Thematically appealing, and daring in its investigation of a time and culture not often considered in children's books, this second work nonetheless lacks the dramatic coherence of its predecessor. Vander Els writes with honesty about the complexities of peoples in conflict--adults and children, East and West--but here, in the confusion of political dilemmas and personal crises, one loses sight of the reason the family is in China to begin with.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux