We Were Not Like Other People

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9780060255084: We Were Not Like Other People

Separated from his family when the Germans invade Russia during World War II, a young boy learns to fend for himself and earn a living whenever and however he can.

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Language Notes:

Text: English, Russian (translation)

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up-- This richly detailed and episodic novel, based on the Russian Jewish immigrant author's own experience in World War II USSR, portrays a teenage boy who becomes separated from his family. (His father had recently been exiled to Siberia during the Stalinist purges). After many brushes with danger, the boy is found--half-dead from hunger and exhaustion--by a Russian peasant woman and her many daughters, who nurse him back to health and take him in as one of their own. In this encounter as well as in a successive one with Samokhin, a Russian Army comrade and friend, the novel's young narrator/hero becomes ennobled by his contact with these stereotypical peasant saints whose honesty, caring, selflessness, and generosity are an integral part of Soviet social mythology. The peasant woman and Samokhin are the two reasons the boy lives through the gruesome war, enabling him to return home after the war and miraculously reunite with his mother, sister, and aunt. Three weeks later, his father returns home. As in Sevela's Why There Is No Heaven on Earth (Harper, 1982) , the author reveals a deep-rooted ambivalence toward his Jewishness against the backdrop of his black-and-white world of Soviets, on the one hand, and everyone else on the other--a strange world view for an author who has been classed as a Refusnik. Young readers may relate to the story's young hero's very real predicaments, but they will also be exposed to a difficult-to-believe version of what happened in the Soviet Union during World War II. --Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Ephraim Sevela
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