Anne Holm – I Am David

02Jan09

A young boy, with the help of a prison guard, escapes from a concentration camp and tries to find his way to Denmark. David is convinced that there is some kind of catch, and there will be people waiting to catch him, punish him and throw him back in the camp, at every point during the initial stages of the escape. Only then does he start believing he can actually escape, and leave the horrors of the concentration camp far behind.

The book almost reads like an adventure story, as it depicts the innocence, kindness and bravery of the twelve year old, who has never experienced the outside world, who does not know what most fruits are, and who actually voluntarily asks for soap as one of the things he’d like to have when he escapes. We read of how paranoia makes him run away, how he risks his own life to save that of a young girl, of how he sticks to his ethics and morals through everything, and how he still manages to find pride in what he does and does not succumb to being treated with contempt (in this case, by an American couple who reckon he’s a mischief-maker). 

The end of the book is beautiful and happy, unlike some other children’s books based in the same era, and lots of questions that probably come to the mind of the reader are answered (why did the prison guard help his escape, being the key one). 

A feel good book. 6.5 on 10. 

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