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Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder

by Alan Collins

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jacob and his younger brother Solly are orphaned when their father falls (or leaps--it is never clear) from a cliff in Australia, where this book is set. Because their only remaining relative, Uncle Siddy, is unmarried and a small-time criminal, the boys are put in a Jewish orphanage. In his new home, surrounded by young refugees from Hitler's Germany, Jacob is taught the significance of his heritage; he, in turn, teaches his new friends Australian slang and rugby. When Solly is adopted, Jacob is apprenticed to a printer. Although his new life is not without satisfaction, Jacob misses the company of people his own age. The search for companionship and for a cause leads Jacob to explore both the Zionist and Communist movements. But he never really feels as if he belongs in either organization. Only after another tragedy does Jacob begin to lead the life that suits him best. Because this account reads more like a memoir than a novel (the author recounts events, rather than re-creating them) it may be a bit daunting for some readers. However, for those able to appreciate it, this bittersweet evocation of a bygone era offers much that is moving and memorable. Ages 12-up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-- Jacob's story begins during the Australian Depression of the 1930s. Orphaned at 12, Jacob and his younger brother, Solly, are taken to the Jewish orphans' home, where most of the children are European refugees from the Nazis. As Jacob matures, he celebrates : his bar mitzvah, is apprenticed to a printing firm, and discovers girls. Central to Jacob's story is the problem of being a Jew in a society permeated by people biased against Jews. Although set in another country and an earlier time, Jacob's story still speaks to modern young adults. His story is not easy to read, for the writing is difficult and life is not always smooth sailing for Jacob. Young adults who have background knowledge of the Depression and the rise of Nazism should appreciate this book, and will empathize with Jacob. --Lucy Marx, Louisville Free Public Library, KY

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st American ed
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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