By Morris Gleitzman
Published by Puffin on 2nd August 2012
RRP £6.99 (paperback)
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans
‘After’ is the fourth and final title in this gripping, harrowing, award-winning series. Following on from ‘Once’, ‘Then’ and ‘Now’, ‘After’ takes us back to when Felix was 13 in 1945. We join Felix hiding from the Nazis under Dom the horse’s stable floor in a hole for 2 years, cared for by Gabriek who brings him food, water and things to ‘educate’ him. After 2 years and 2 months Felix staggers from his hiding place to save Gabriek from harm … this leads Felix into the secret and dangerous world of the Partisans. After passing their initiation he joins them in their attempts to kill and destroy the Nazis. The books ends with Felix in a concentration camp, as a medical worker helping those who’ve been left to die when the Nazis fled after they’d lost the war. Felix, again in ‘After’, makes friends and loses them, sees, hears and does things that no one, especially a child, should ever have to.
This whole series is gripping, they are difficult to read as the subject matter is very real, but they should be read. They educate the reader and at the same time tell a story in way that is accessible to children. The books are written beautifully, you share Felix’s passion, heartache, terror, losses, you completely empathise with his character and respect his courage, bravery and will to survive despite the horror and trauma he’s had to endure for the last 6 years.
The books are written so you can read them as a ‘stand alone’ story, or in any order. Definitely read all 4 to get the full understanding of Felix’s story. It is after all our history and it’s a part of history that should never be repeated.
Highly recommended for readers 9+
Every year on 27th January, the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides and apply them to the present day to create a safer, better future.