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The Zigzag Kid Paperback – 24 Sep 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (24 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747538093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747538097
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Friedman on 30 July 2001
Format: Paperback
"Not all kids are square", says Nonny's substitute mother, Gabi. "Some are square, some are round and some are Zigzags."
Nonny, a spirited Israeli boy, affectionately dubbed "the zigzag kid" by Gabi, is fast approaching the most significant day in his young life, his Bar Mitzvah (13th birthday). As a special "treat" his Dad and Gabi bundle him aboard a train to Haifa where he believes he is heading straight for his Professor Uncle's home to receive a famously boring pre-barmitzvah lecture.
He is on a very different journey to the one he imagines. The wacky Gabi and his Detective Dad have planted a host of bizarre characters on this train for his sole amusement. By means of a cryptic note left on his seat they instruct him to pick a character to accompany him on an adventure. Nonny is magnetically drawn towards the immaculately turned-out old man in the white suit. Together they embark on a wild adventure beginning with hijacking the train and speeding off in a vintage car that is waiting for them further along the tracks.
This book is full of surprises, brightly coloured characters and important lessons. Nonny learns that who he is need not be determined by who his parents are, he has aspects of both of them in him but he is unique. With this realisation he can truly appreciate himself - the bad and the good in him. Both adults and children will be delighted by this book which is at once a fantastical tale and a realistic account of a child's growing towards adulthood.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
Nonny will soon be thirteen. Before he can cross that wobbly bridge, he has to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah. Like it or not - and he doesn't - his father and long-suffering partner, Gabi, pack him off on a train journey to his uncle's for a pre-b-m tutorial. On the train, his policeman father and the eccentric Gabi have prepared an elaborate joke. Nonny, however, misreads the clues and is soon drawn into the feather-light grasp of the elegant and mysterious Felix.
This is no kidnapping, however; or at least, Nonny is a willing victim. He has to face a cross roads: his uncle's or - ? Soon, Felix hijacks the train. Nonny is shocked but thrilled too. The boy loves the feeling of power as his hand (his hand!) controls the raw power of the locomotive. He is hooked. Being thirteen, his conscience is easily salved and he alights at the unscheduled stop.
There follows a series of adventures, both funny and moving, as Nonny learns about who he is, and where he came from. Why was he born with the sweet taste of chocolate in his mouth? Nonny's life on the run is contrasted with the life he had with the eccentric Gabi and his loving, if gruff, father. Given Grossman's references to chocolate, it would be too easy to descibe this as a bitter-sweet novel. What it is, however, is a magical story full of vivid contrasts: likeable rogues and pillars-of-the community-straight fupholders of the law; Nonny's regimented home life and the pirate-like freedom of the road; and, above all, the old Nonny and the new, wiser Nonny. Many authors tackle the rites of passage story. Most forget to add a central plot. David Grossman blends the two effortlessly to create a story as addictive as the very substance that bonds Nonny with his past...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on 24 May 2013
Format: Paperback
With the style, wit and charm unique to Israeli literature, David Grossman creates this whimsical page-turner about a 13 year old boy in 1970 Israel, who has a strange adventure with a veteran master criminal and a aging actress. Amnon (Nonnie) pieces together his family's history, while way from his gung ho cop father and his father's grossly overweight girlfriend.

Translated with all the charm, white and satire/humour of the original. This is a must read for lovers of contemporary literature. Sadly due to politically correct far-left anti-Israel racism, some libraries in Europe and the UK are now refusing to stock any books by Israeli authors, no matter how left wing or conciliatory towards the Arabs, these authors may be. So due to racism and hate and the genocidal drive to destroy an entire country and culture, many will miss out on the richness of authors like this and other masters of Israeli literature.
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