Number of Pages: 432
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: January 23, 2007
When fifteen year old Tamar’s grandfather falls off of his balcony and dies, potentially in a successful attempt to commit suicide, she is heartbroken. But this emotion soon gives way to curiosity when she inherits a box filled with objects from WWII, which her grandfather was a part of. Soon she realizes that the contents of the box are much more than simple trinkets- they are clues leading her to some discovery, a final missing piece of the puzzle that is her life. As she goes on a road trip with her cousin to solve this mystery she is engulfed in the story of her grandfather’s war experience, one that is filled with betrayal, love, and, above all, fear.
My English class is currently doing a unit on power, how people handle it, and what sorts of effects it can have on people who are subjected to a lot of it. Our assignment was to choose a book that dealt largely with power, so I chose this one to read. I love historical fiction novels, and I find WWII very interesting to read about, so this one seemed like a good fit for me. I had never read any of Mal Peet’s other novels, so I was sort of going into this blind.
Tamar was a truly great read. The perspective of the story flip-flopped between present day Tamar (London, 1995) and her grandfather (Holland, 1945). The fact that you can see two different points in history was probably my most favorite aspect of this book. Tamar in 1995 is at first a startlingly harsh narrator, but I found that I warmed up to her as the book progressed. Once you learn more of her story you realize that she has more than enough reasons to be a bit unhappy with her life. It is sort of challenging to go further into detail about this without giving any spoilers or plot twists away, so bear with me! I really liked Mal Peet’s writing style and the way he incorporated real events in history into the story along with his fictional characters. It made the story seem a lot more realistic, which I really appreciated. And the plot twist at the end- IT’S SO GOOD!
My favorite quote from Tamar is as follows:
“This line of reasoning could have frightened him, but it did not. He gained a certain strength from it. Because, after all, what can be imagined can be achieved.”
It’s simple but I think it has a great meaning to it- that fear can have a positive impact on humans, and that what you can imagine you can do.
Overall, this book was really good. My only complaint is that some parts were a bit confusing, but other than that I have nothing bad to say.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely.