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Posted April 16, 2013
I have always appreciated books about World War II. There are so many sides to the story, and each one is unique. I love the simple free verse writing in Odette's Secrets. It conveys her feelings and experiences with a distinct voice. It is a beautifully written story of a girl whose family all came back together even after the horrific trials of the war.
Odette's experiences are written in a way that is accessible to children. They will be able to connect to her story and hopefully see it for what it is.
Posted March 23, 2013
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From the first page, this dear little girl, Odette, draws you into her world. You sit beside her in the darkened cinema and see the flash of jack-booted Nazis flash across the screen. You feel the splinters of glass beneath your shoes, surveying the broken shop window with her and her mother. Through the use of free-verse poetry, Odette’s joys, and fears are vividly and perfectly expressed. It all feels so real. You fully comprehend why a child’s concern for the loss of her doll can be on a level equal to her bewilderment of peoples’ hatred of Jews.
Odette is aware she is a Jew. But her family is secular; in fact, “Mama and Papa don’t believe in religion”. Soon, though, the reality of her situation cannot be ignored. At 7 ½, she is made aware that she is no longer ‘really’ French—that is, not as she used to be. She is not allowed to play in the park, go to museums and cafes. With much trepidation, she wears a yellow star on her clothes, which invites abuse from other children, as well as from adults. Her life has been turned upside-down.
Odette’s world is full of secrets—secrets that protect and allow her to survive. It seems a lot for a little girl to handle, but Maryann MacDonald’s wonderful and sensitive writing helps you understand Odette’s inner strengths, as well as from whom and where they were derived. Truly, this book is a page turner. You don’t want to put it down; you need to know—what will Odette’s fate be?
Based on the true story of Odette Meyers, the author thoughtfully includes the tale of how she discovered and came to write Odette’s Secrets, and a timeline of events in Odette’s life. And scattered throughout—and perfectly placed—in the book are photos of the people who figure so greatly in the narrative. Although written primarily for pre and young teens, it will speak to adults on a very personal level; evoking their own childhood memories. I love this book.
Posted March 21, 2013
Poignant and hopeful, Odette's Secrets is the story of a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a tumultuous time. The Nazis have invaded the city and each day brings unexpected travails. Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers, Maryann MacDonald lovingly captures the heart and soul of a brave young girl as she is forced to flee Paris and create a new identity in the French countryside. A book that will surely stand the test of time, I couldn't put it down and missed hearing Odette's compelling voice when I finished it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.