But Can the Phoenix Sing?

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9780688136123: But Can the Phoenix Sing?

Escaping the Warsaw Ghetto to a life of danger and freedom as a partisan in the forest of Parczew, fourteen-year-old Misha Edelman learns a harsh lesson about survival that parallels the story of the mythical phoenix.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up?British teen Rich Buchanan is alienated from his stepfather, Misha Edelman, because of the man's seemingly strict disciplinary standards. Rich is also worried about the consequences of his involvement in an anti-Semitic incident at school. Just before a trip to Australia to see his long-lost sister, Misha gives the boy a manuscript he wrote describing his family's Holocaust experiences in Poland and his fear-filled, harrowing ordeal to survive; he wants his stepson to understand his life and why he acts the way he does. His account constitutes most of the novel and is as vivid and believable a first-person narrative as any written by a Holocaust survivor. Through letters to his girlfriend Katie, Rich reveals his increasing empathy for his stepfather and his guilt over the way he has treated him. An afterword tells of Rich's journalist father's death in Uruguay and contains a letter to Katie about his emotional reconciliation with Misha, who rushed back from his reunion with his sister to be with him at this time. Readers may see the young man's sketchy missives as an unwarranted interruption in the flow of Misha's exciting narrative, but they do show how he changes his mind about his stepfather. An inspiring affirmation of life in two generations.?Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Gr. 7^-10. Thrilling action and complex moral issues combine in a Holocaust survivor story, a sequel to Shadow of the Wall (1990). Misha Edelman, now settled in England, remembers his teenage experience after he escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto: first he was a partisan fighter in the Polish forest in 1942; then he returned to Warsaw as an underground courier for the resistance; he spent several months as a prisoner of the Germans (always hiding his Jewish identity); finally he came to England. Misha tells his story in a long letter to his stepson, Richard, and Richard's occasional notes to his girlfriend add a contemporary commentary; but the framework becomes too heavy, especially when Richard reveals his involvement in a recent anti-Semitic high-school prank. What's splendid about this story is the account of the partisans. The writing is intense as Misha remembers the courage and terror of the forest action and then his loneliness and grief, his guilt at having survived his family and the young woman he loved. Teens will be held by Misha's haunting discovery that cruelty and tenderness can co-exist "not just in one culture or country . . . but in one person even." Hazel Rochman

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