Dou­ble Crossing

Eve Tal
  • Review
By – August 3, 2012
Almost-12-year-old Raizel accom­pa­nies her father on an ardu­ous jour­ney of immi­gra­tion from Rus­sia to Amer­i­ca — twice. Reject­ed at Ellis Island, the pair return to their embarka­tion point of Antwerp, where kind­ly Jew­ish fel­low pas­sen­gers help them plan a more suc­cess­ful sec­ond attempt. The sto­ry is based on the mis­ad­ven­tures of the author’s own grand­fa­ther. The sto­ry is well-writ­ten, smooth and absorb­ing, with char­ac­ters who are alive, sym­pa­thet­ic and believ­able. Raizel’s fre­quent sto­ry­telling adds inter­est and helps to move the tale along. The fem­i­nist over­tones, which have become com­mon in recent his­tor­i­cal nov­els, are present but are not over­done. Philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions are raised for char­ac­ters and read­ers to pon­der, such as whether it is the inside self or out­ward prac­tices that make a per­son Jew­ish. The sto­ry is by turns thought­ful and adven­tur­ous and this skill­ful pac­ing dis­tin­guish­es it from many immi­gra­tion sto­ries. The themes of hard­ship, adap­ta­tion, and courage are uni­ver­sal to any immi­grant expe­ri­ence, and the book will be enjoyed by Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish read­ers alike. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 10 – 13.
Hei­di Estrin is librar­i­an for the Feld­man Chil­dren’s Library at Con­gre­ga­tion B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries.

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