Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

January 8, 2013
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Well, I believe the author was aiming for suspense when he wrote this book. It’s not suspenseful in the mystery sort of sense; it’s actually more of a question, you see. The title is named after a weed, which really makes the reader wonder. Once you get to a certain point in the book, it gives a slight explanation as to how the book got its title, easing your curiosity, but not really giving a whole lot away. The theme of the book was sort of sad in a way, but mainly innocent, because it described how the boy knew absolutely nothing. The boy (The main character of the book) is a survivor, because he steals food. He knows nothing but how to thrive in Warsaw, Poland by being a crook. The boy, knowing nothing about the world except what he sees is what makes him completely and utterly innocent. My evaluation of the book is that it is a worthy read for those who are patient enough to work out the knots. My purpose is to see if you (as the reader) are capable of doing so.

Basically, this book is about a small boy that thrives in Warsaw, Poland, by stealing food and material. The boy didn’t know anything about his life, or the true dangers of the world he lived in. He meets a group of older boys who take him under their care and teach him what’s wrong and right, and give him an identity. Eventually, he meets a little girl, who becomes his close friend. When everybody is taken to the ghettos, the little boy keeps the little girl and her family living by taking food from outside the ghettos through a hole in the wall. I judge this book with the fact that that the author would set a time zone (Ex. Summer 1943) then skip a couple seasons, years, months, or decades. This confused me quite a bit. If Jerry Spinelli had filled in the blanks a bit more, it would be a much easier read. This book is a challenge.

Since the book skipped over so many blanks, I’d have to say that would drop my personal rating of the book down, but it also wasn’t as detailed as I’d like. It didn’t always describe the little things, or when it did, it described too much. The book, however did achieve the goal of suspense, not revealing some questions until chapters into the book. Compared to other books, Milkweed is rather strange, but puts a twist on the usual stereotypical assumptions about the Holocaust.

I conclude that this book could have been a little bit better. Overall, it’s an interesting read, which is rather comical at certain parts, but a tearjerker at others. This book also shows that you can be innocent without a completely clean track record. I thought it could have been better by adding more details and not skipping over large amounts of time.
I give this book a three star rating, because of lack of details and events.

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