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"Orlev (Run, Boy, Run) blurs the edges of dream and reality in this story about Michael, a friendless child of self-absorbed parents, who "[doesn't] like sports or computer games," preferring the company of his Plasticine figures and the old men in his neighborhood. When his family moves to Israel, Mikha'el (as he's known there) forges a strong bond with his ailing grandfather, who takes him into his dreams...A strange tale, but a diverting escape, perhaps, to those also at odds with the really real world."—Publishers Weekly
Posted June 23, 2010
Mini Synopsys: This is a translated work which is a sweet and fantastic tale about a young boy whose family moves to Israel from New York to care for his aging and dying grandfather. Michael, his American name, is a loner of a child and prefers adult company to that of children. He is comfortable with this move since he does speak fluent Hebrew.
Upon arrival to Israel, he meets his grandfather and they become very close. Over their time together his grandfather shares his knowledge of his special gift, that Michael also possess. Only Michael doesn't realize how special he really is.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this tale with its many interesting themes, such as addressing dreams, death, respect for the old, thinking about rebirth, reincarnation, sharing past lives, vegetarianism, morality and recognizing special gifts.
Several problems I had with the book is that it did not feel completely translated in a few small areas; there were bits which could be confusing for an American reader. I imagine that this was remedied since the copy that I read was an ARC - advanced read copy. Another is that one of the characters, Michael's grandfather's housekeeper/girlfriend, was portrayed as a difficult person. My problem was that although she cared for his grandfather, his grandfather's home, did all the cooking, and after a move did these things for Michael's family as well, she was treated with disrespect by the entire family. Not a great role model for a child.
All in all, I adore translations and when looking beyond the annoyances mentioned above, I give this book 3.5 stars. I liked it a lot.