Reading Then brought back all the memories I have from Year 10 English class - reading Once for the first time, The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas... doing our group oral presentation on WW2 novels with my friends Liz and Chulodi... (we got amazing scores for it, woohoo! Thanks, Mrs Murphy).
I hadn't read Then back then, but I knew it would be much like its predecessor and I went into it knowing very well that the story would be a sad one.
I think reading these kind of stories - especially as they're children's stories - as an adult, puts things more into perspective and made me perceive the tragedy of WW2 so much clearer.
For some strange reason, I really enjoy reading out loud, even when no one is around. I do this whenever I feel like it or whenever possible, especially with children's books (well, Middle Grade.. I don't really read younger kids' literature). And I read a fair bit of Then aloud to myself too. At some points I actually had to stop because it was choking me up. Sometimes I feel like children's books should never be this sad or such a downer... but at the same time it's clear this series is a masterpiece and addresses the tragic topic beautifully and heartachingly accurately.
I could really go on and on talking about Felix and Zelda, and their family situation/Nazi situation, etc, but I don't think I need to. Felix is young - really young - and the things he goes through and has to deal with is incredible, tragic, heartbreaking, unfair... I've covered it and you'll have/will read it, let's move on.
I read Then when I should have been writing my research essays, but it didn't take a lot of time to read because the writing was so clear and simple (still poignant though) and the story was not a long one.
I would suggest everyone read Once, or Then, or both - unless you're scared of crying.
My rating: 5 stars
Click here to see my Goodreads review.
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