Thief of Glory
by Sigmund Brouwer
This was the first book I've ever read by Brouwer but I am an avid reader of WWII fiction so when I saw this book I knew I had to add it to my list of books to read.
This entire novel is written from the point of view of the main character, Jeremiah. You don't often find books written in this fashion but it helped you understand how he felt and made the story very personal.
Since the story is told from Jeremiah's perspective I really felt like I knew him and understood his pain throughout the book. But at the same time I felt at times that it kept me from feeling that same depth of understanding about the other characters at times.
This was one of those books that I had to read in ONE sitting. I just couldn't bear to stop for more than a quick bathroom break while reading because I was so engrossed in the life of Jeremiah. I NEEDED to know what was going to happen next with him and his siblings and the other characters in the camp. But at the same time it wasn't an easy read as you read a fictionalized telling of the horrors the Dutch were experiencing at the hands of the Japanese at the time.
Jeremiah is quite the young man. Left responsible for his mother and all of his younger siblings he more than rose to the task. Using his wit, intelligence, and life skills he managed to barter and trade for almost everything they needed both inside and outside of the camp. He was quite resourceful and cunning. I love how he used his hobby of playing marbles and basically turned it into a business venture with marbles as currency! I also loved how he was willing to risk everything - including his own life - to keep his family alive.
I know I mentioned I read a lot of WWII books but this was only the second book I've read that took place in Japanese occupied WWII. I found the detailed descriptions of life in that area of the world at that time both sad and disheartening but also quite realistic.
The conflict that Jeremiah endured amongst the other boys in the camp was so sad for me. I hated to see the young boys pitting against each other but am quite sure that did happen in real life too as it was "every man for himself" But I fell in love with how well Jeremiah and Laura were able to partner together on more than one experience. I also love the strength they both drew from God during the troubling times.
This isn't a book for the faint of heart though. The conditions and treatment of these people in the camp is very difficult to read about since it really did happen in real life. I would only let a very mature teenager read this book and even then I would want to discuss it with them afterward.
That being said I do think this is one of the best books I've read in a long time and certainally the best in this time and place in history. More people need to be aware of the atrocities people were forced to endure during WWII and not just in the Nazi occupied regions. I'm thankful for authors like Brouwer who tackle the difficult subjects with such well written books.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.