As the United Nations prepares to vote on whether the Arabs and Jews should be separated in 1947, Ruth Mendolsohn, a Haganah member, finds her family life paralleling the outside world as her brother, an Irgun member, also prepares to fight.
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Grade 8 Up. In After the War (S & S, 1996), Matas related the story of a 15-year-old concentration camp survivor, Ruth Mendelson, and told of her journey from Poland to Palestine. The Garden is set in and around Kibbutz David, where Ruth now lives. It is November 1947, and the United Nations is preparing to vote on a plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab lands. Ruth describes the difficulties the kibbutzniks face as British troops stand by and Arabs attack. She struggles with conflicting feelings about armed confrontation and longs for peace and security. Ruth is a courageous, sensitive young woman whose actions, ideas, and ideals are genuine and thought-provoking. Her first-person, present-tense narration is engrossing and unaffected. The other characters are well delineated, particularly Ruth's wisecracking boyfriend. The Garden is a riveting, relevant novel that raises tough questions?and provides no easy answers. It will be useful in units on war and conflict, but it's also a truly good read.?Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7^-10. In this sequel to the fine docunovel After the War (1996), 16-year-old Holocaust survivor Ruth Mendelson is on a kibbutz in Palestine in 1947, caught up in the war against the Arabs, a reluctant combatant--and killer--in the guerrilla conflict. Ruth's first-person, present-tense narrative tells of brutal action, including massacre by Arabs and Jews. She tells it quietly, trying to be fair to different Jewish views about the war, caught herself between her brother's extremism and those who fight only in self-defense. She is trying to make a home, trying to forget ("All I want is to live in peace"). This is not as strong as the first book. Each character seems be here to represent a viewpoint, and the story is purposive, more political warfare than fiction. Hazel Rochman
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