Life Behind the Wall
Written by Robert Elmer
Published at Zondervan
About the book
Cut off by the Iron Curtain This epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, three-books-in-one edition features three generations of resourceful teens living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Titles include: Candy Bombers: In spring 1948, teenage cousins Erich and Katarina are simply trying to survive in war-ravaged Berlin when the Soviets blockade the east side of the city, isolating its citizens---and starving them---behind the Iron Curtain. Beetle Bunker: In August 1961, Sabine discovers a forgotten underground bunker. Though she first uses it to escape her crowded home, she soon realizes her hideout could possibly take her family under the wall to West Berlin and freedom! Smuggler's Treasure: In spring 1989, life is good in West Germany, and even the Cold War seems to be thawing in the warmer weather. But as Liesl works on a class project about the history of the wall, she stumbles onto a startling secret no one will talk about.
Life Behind the Wall is in fact threes books in one by Robert Elmer- Candy Bombers, Hidden Bunkers, and Smuggler's Treasure. I originally requested this book for my oldest son who enjoys reading war based novels. This series of books is presenting the life in Berlin after the World War II when the Russians invaded the city and separated it.
Candy Bombers is set in time during the summer of 1948. Russians has invaded Berlin and life is difficult for Erich and his mom. They go visit his grand-mother who lives on the East side of Berlin while they live on the West side. Looking for extra food, Erich is adventurous to the point where he tries to get sneak into an American plane who bring relief to the population. At some point he becomes friends with a young man serving in Berlin. Candy bombs become small gestures for kids on the East side of the city to bring some smiles on their faces. But these are not welcomed and rapidly confiscated by the Russians. But Erich tries has best he can to help people around him.
Hidden Bunkers follow Sabine who is the step-sister of Erich during the year of 1961. She now lives with her mom, brother, step-grand-mother as well as uncle and aunt in a building on the East side of Berlin. Life is difficult with the oppression of the Russians military. Suddenly, one night the unthinkable happens. A wall has risen and now separates the city in two factions - East and West. And it is impossible to try to cross over. Those who try are immediately either capture or killed. But there is hope when she discover an old bunker and from this discovery comes a possible escape. But the escape won't happen without leaving an important character behind.
Finally, in Smuggler's Treasure we follow the adventures of the niece of Erich, Liesl, as she turn thirteen and live on the West side of the city and sometimes visits her uncle on the East side. Her view of life when the city is divided by the wall concludes with the collapsed of the wall as we have seen it happened in 1989. Through her adventures, she discover the truth behind some of the things that happened in the past and is able to reunite all her family together.
At the end of each books the author explain how the story is based on what really happened as well as offers some questions for further discussion between your child and yourself of you want to explore more on what the book covered or to help a group of young readers to discuss the book further.
My son, age thirteen, read the three books avidly and really enjoyed it. A few times I saw him searching German words to discover their meaning as he pursued his reading. I thought it was a great way to learn something new while reading. I also read the books and found them well written. It caught my attention from the first page of the first book until the last page of the third book. The story is engaging and you get to the point that you wait expectantly for the next chapter. Actually, it was somewhat hard to put the tablet down and not pursue the reading. I really enjoy reading about the experience of the family portrayed in these books while living the dramatic events of life in Berlin.
If you have a child interesting in novels based on events during war time, I find that Life Behind the Wall is a great way to expose him or her to the events surrounding the wall of Berlin. It would also make a great summer read as it cover some historical events in it.
Life Behind the Wall is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even on amazon.ca and amazon.com.
The book is also available on Kindle.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Zondervan for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.