Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Jim is astounding, his will to live both inspirational and shocking
on 8 December 2013
Having read Schindler's Ark just last week, this made a fascinating counterpoint, WWII on uh other side of the world, where people may not have been treated as needing extermination, but in actual fact were still appallingly treated.
Jim (Jamie to his parents) is 11 when the home he knows in Shanghai is taken by the Japanese. Fending for himself, his parents vanished, Jim does what he must to survive, his instinct to live overcoming pride and dignity. Through Jim we see the harsh reality of life for a conquered people, the strong and opportunistic who thrive on the chaos of war, the prison conditions that many didn't survive.
And that fact that it's based on the author's own experiences is both illuminating and saddening, that a boy and probably many more like him had to grow up instantly or die.
There are no holds barred in prison life descriptions, and you can really picture the people Jim encounters, though the guards and Japanese in general (as well as the indigenous Chinese) are sketchily written: it's all about the Western prisoners.
Not a light read but powerful and a very good insight into the war in the East.