ESCAPING INTO THE NIGHT by D. Dina Friedman

ESCAPING INTO THE NIGHT

Age Range: 12 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A group of Partisans brings 13-year-old Halina to a large secret encampment in the forest enabling her to escape deportment from her Polish Jewish ghetto. The normal teen concerns of mother/daughter conflicts and coming-of-age questions about the opposite sex are altered as Halina speaks of her survival experience in a visually descriptive and relatively suspenseful first-person voice. Following her mother’s death by Nazi troops, Halina’s grief is quickly overshadowed by the struggles of starvation, threatened German attacks and a power clash within the encampment. She also faces her own doubts about religion and belief in God as she learns to live with her newly adopted family of fellow Jewish refugees, some devoutly faithful. Based on true accounts of various forest underground communities that succeeded in saving numerous Jewish refugees during the Nazi occupation of western Belorussia, this is a pithy story of a girl’s difficult transition from a civilized lifestyle to one of primitive and crude endurance filled with constant danger and death. Terms in Yiddish and Hebrew are woven into the dialogue without translation and will not always be understood without the benefit of a glossary. While no survivor’s story concludes with joy and happiness, Halina’s experience demonstrates maturity and a resignation that life is worth living at any price. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0258-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2006