You often find with the second in a series, that you finish the book feeling a bit deflated and thinking that it didn’t live up to the expectations of the first one. Well, I’m glad to say that Then was just as good as Once.
Felix and Zelda have managed to escape a train taking them to a concentration camp and are now on the run. Felix grows up a lot in this story, understanding the reality of the Nazi’s plan for the Jewish people. They manage to find a kind and caring lady called Genia who takes them in. She helps disguise them by bleaching their hair, giving them new names and generally training them how to blend in within the Nazi ruled town. Life under this rule however, is chaotic and unpredictable…
The familiarity of the way Gleitzman writes as Felix was comforting to read; it gives a light relief of comedy now and then in this sad story. I love it when he says ‘You know when you’re…’ and then says something that would be challenging for anyone to relate to. It keeps the innocence alive in the story which is filled with much cruelty. For anyone who has read any of the books in the series, you will know the style that I mean.
If you like historical fiction, then this is book and indeed a series for you. For example, if you enjoy books like: Anne Frank’s Diary; Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo; Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian; When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr or Hitler’s Daughter by Jackie French, then this book is your next read.
‘Then’ is the second in this series by Morris Gleitzman.