Once or Then*
Now is the final book in this phenomenal trilogy. After reading Once and Then in quick succession, I didn't think Now would be easy to find as it's not the book in this series I see the most. So when I walked into my local library and found it SITTING ON THE FRONT DESK, I knew I should get it out to read. Which I did.
For all you Morris Gleitzman fans or fans of this series so far, this is very different to any of the other books in this series.
Synopsis: ONCE I didn't know about my grandfather Felix's scary childhood. THEN I found out what the Nazis did to his best friend Zelda. NOW I understand why Felix does the things he does. At least he's got me. My name is Zelda too. This is our story.
(From the blurb of the book)
Okay, this is incredibly hard to write so this is going to just be a low-down really.
When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought what Felix was 'doing' was fighting against the Nazis violently like we see him doing at the end of Then. Although, thinking back now, I realise that this is so unlike the Felix we have got to know over this trilogy.
Now is the last instalment in this series and also acts as a shocking reminder that the events we describe as disgusting and morally wrong are still happening today and will be around for future generations. The event this book focuses on is the fires in the Australian outback in February 2009 as well as modern day bullying.
Gleitzman makes you feel so many emotions - fear, anger, joy, pity - it is a roller-coaster of a ride to read and could leave you feeling anything, depending on how you read it. This book for me wasn't up to the mark as it's predecessors' but it still had Gleitzman's excellent writing and wonderful characters, mostly new.
The story is told from twelve-year-old Zelda, the granddaughter of Felix, the young boy in the previous books. It is set in modern day Australia. Zelda was named in honour of Felix's best friend during the Holocaust when he was a similar age to his granddaughter. Her legend lives on through the generations in Felix's family and of course, the locket which is still present in this book.
Felix is the Felix I love - however, he is eighty years-old. However, there are still traits of the wonderful Zelda who we know was killed in the previous book. We learn about what happened to Felix after Then although nothing is ever revealed about Zelda's grandmother which I thought a little weird. It may not be relevant to this story but I would have liked to know about her.
As Morris Gleitzman writes at the end, you don't have to read this books in order although I would recommend it as you get a total feel for young Felix's journey.
The descriptions in this are far different the rest of the trilogy which I preferred. Zelda started off to annoy me and I wanted Felix's voice again, although she grew on me. The ending is the best I could possibly think of for this series and really highlights what life is about: surviving. I have learned so much from this series of books as they give you a high powered glimpse into this period of time that we wish humanity could forget. However, the horrible things that the Nazis did so mercilessly to Jewish people is still rife today. The bullying described by Zelda that she experiences, and some I have experienced myself, is still harsh and disgusting. Although, bullying in this sense is not as bad as what the Nazis horrifically did to the Jews, the book shows that bullying is strong in all past, present and certainly future. Perhaps it is a humane thing to do.
This book I know will always stay with me in the future and although Felix is not a true character, those that were very much like him and risking their lives at such an age will always be heroes to us.
Verdict: This has been an amazing series. If you haven't read it yet, don't fret, start with Once and prepare a box of tissues.
I give it a 4 out of 5
Review for Once
Review for Then
Review for After
Author's Website: http://www.morrisgleitzman.com/
Publisher: Puffin from Penguin