DISGUISED by Rita de Clercq Zubli


A Wartime Memoir
Age Range: 14 & up
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Rita la Fontaine was 12 years old when the Japanese invaded Djambi, Sumatra. To avoid being conscripted as a “comfort woman” for the Japanese troops, Rita became “Rick,” creating a new self. She and her family spent the next three-and-a-half years in prisoner-of-war camps, and no one ever suspected her true identity. She got an office job, became fluent in Japanese and became an interpreter. However, even though her life was relatively privileged, she suffered an attack by a homosexual officer, witnessed horrific starvation and disease in the camps and was tormented by the loss of her mother and separation from her father. Well told in a plain, straightforward prose style, the voice is that of a companionable elder relating her story so that others will know. The text runs long, and the tone is didactic at times, but readers will learn the intended lessons about resolve, courage and perseverance. A solid volume to add to the growing body of fine memoirs about World War II. (glossary) (Nonfiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3329-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2007