Sigmund Brouwer's Thief of Glory is not a fluffy read. It's intense. It's heart-wrenching. It's one of those books that you will ponder for weeks to come.
Thief of Glory deals with an often neglected aspect of World War II. It also deals with one boy's experience of strength, courage, sacrifice, heartbreak and choices that haunt him for life.
After his father and older half-brothers are separated from the rest of the family by the invading Japanese, Jeremiah takes on most of the responsibility for himself and his younger siblings as they and his troubled mother are forced to relocate to a Japanese POW camp. Conditions in the camp are horrendous, and Jeremiah becomes involved in connecting with the outside world in order to obtain needed medical supplies while caring for his family. Jeremiah forges a strong-as-steel friendship with Laura as they work together. Jeremiah also has various encounters involving Georgie, his rival and enemy.
I was not expecting the twist at the end as the story came full-circle. This book is one that will both warm you and haunt you. I highly recommend it.
I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
This is the second book I've read by this author. It was sometimes hard to read because of the way the prisoners were treated. I've never read about the suffering that went on in the Japanese held prisoner camps. It was gripping and overall I really enjoyed it. I also liked the way it ended. I
I'd never read anything by Sigmund Brouwer before and I'm always willing to read a book by a new author. Though it is very hard for me to step out of my comfort zone of my preferred circle of well-known and beloved authors, I do try to read books from new authors whenever I can.
I liked reading about the main character,Jeremiah Prins,pretty well. Just the way that the author used his voice in the story was really ground-breaking.I was intrigued by both Jeremiah and his mother's story. It was very interesting to read about.
There was also one part in this book that was so gripping and suspenseful that if more of the story was written like that I think I would have enjoyed this story a whole lot more. I don't want to spoil it but it was so suspenseful that it actually reminded me of another book I'd read and enjoyed. If anyone has read Lemony Snicket's book series, "A Series of Unfortunate Events" you'll see what I'm talking about.
The heroine, Laura, was one of the biggest elements of the story as well but I didn't really have that connection to her character like I did with the hero for some strange reason. I wish that the author would've included her character more in the story. To me, I thought that this story would've been more like a love story taking place during the war. It kinda was a love story but it wasn't what the story was solely built upon.
I think that the book cover was absolutely stunning! I will admit that it was the book cover that drew me into reading this story. The book cover was just so well done. Enough said!
Overall, this was a pretty good read. Though there were some parts of the story that seemed to lag to me. The author wrote about a certain part of WWII that I didn't really have an idea about which was something interesting as well. There were also many parts in the story that were absolutely gripping and heart wrenching. The "Thief of Glory"was a pretty good read about a boy growing up in the war times.
My Book Rating: (3.5 stars)
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Remarkable historical fiction of a family in a Japanese war camp from the perspective of a 10 year old boy
November 19, 2014
Of the books I've read from Sigmund Brouwer's pen, Thief of Glory is my favorite. In his signature storytelling style, this work of historical fiction is reminiscent of a memoir, shared like a series of journal entries written in the first person from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy; it is a completely fictional account of one family's nightmarish experience of interment in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. Yet the details are hauntingly real.
Jeremiah lived with his parents and siblings on the island of Java. His father was the schoolmaster of the Dutch colonists. His income allowed them to live prosperously in their little village, with servants from the community. Jeremiah's blended family had two sets of siblings. There were three older half-brothers and his birth siblings--twin sisters and a little brother. Jeremiah was the eldest of his birth family. His lovely mother suffered from a mental illness where she frequently went into a dark phase of isolation. Often she was emotionally inaccessible. Jeremiah and his father were used to taking care of his family during these times. He took special care of his younger brother, Pietje (sounds like PJ). The little guy followed him around like a puppy.
The tragic portion of the story began when the Japanese arrived on the island. They removed the older boys and men, taking them to labor camps, some to work on the infamous Burma railroad. Jeremiah's father and brothers never returned. Before he left, he gave charge of his young family to Jeremiah's care. At this point, we are aware that the boy is a scrapper, a tough young man, and smart. He believes he is up for the challenge. It wasn't long after the men were taken when the Japanese came for the women and children. They were placed in "Jappencamps", where each family lived in a single room of a house. The bulk of this amazing story occurs in this place of captivity.
One element meaningful to me was the author's use of a few powerful metaphors. The banyan tree represents moments in time that leave an indelible impression for life. It also is used to represent the consequences of moments which pervades our lives to the end. The second metaphor was the impression left by reading Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe a number of times on Jeremiah. Jeremiah saw himself as Ivanhoe and Laura Jansen as Lady Rowena from the moment he laid eyes on her at the village's marble game. Consequently, when another boy named Georgie Smith vied for her attention, Jeremiah was ready to fight for her, even in the Jappencamp.
The second thing that struck me as an amazing factor in this story were the details of life in the camp. While these details are secondary to the plot, they lend an atmosphere of authenticity to the events that took place. In the preface, it's mentioned that these details came from the author's parents, especially his father who spent years in a similar situation as Jeremiah. Yet he survived and returned home to his loved ones, and in particular the author's mother. I think it's the stark realism of this tale which plucked at my heartstrings so much. Toward the end, I even forgot the story was supposed to be fiction.
The thing that surprised me most about this book was that reading this from a pre-teen's viewpoint meant that, like Tom sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, there were the inevitable light moments and chuckles. Even in the midst of the horrendous circumstances he was in with his family, Jeremiah's antics and escapades were often funny, in a dark sort of "stick-to-you" type of way. Call it comic relief. I don't want to sound insensitive to the victims of such horrors, but the author managed to include many enjoyable instances as a sort of foil to the seriousness of the situation.
All of this meant I could hardly put the book down because of the suspense. It was all about surviving the war with his sanity and sense of self intact. Like me, you may be surprised how the book ends. I didn't see it coming at all. If you enjoy a fresh perspective of a historical fiction and/or love what Sigmund Brouwer writes, I can heartily recommend this book to you. For the rest of you, try something new; I think this book is worth it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Waterbrook Press and the website, Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Brouwer does it again. Though a fiction account we learn that the realistic story is built around actual experiecnes of his family. From page one your attention is held to the very end.The story is historical correct and deals with the atrocities experienced by a family that he careful traces through out their trials,imprisonment and deprivations . It is sometimes a hard read due to the realization that a great deal of what Brouwer weaves in his story actually happened in the lives of many during WW II. The end will totally surprise you and maybe even blow you away.