My Broth­er’s Shadow

Moni­ka Schröder
  • Review
By – November 19, 2012
When his broth­er vol­un­teers for mil­i­tary ser­vice in the trench­es of Berlin dur­ing World War I, Moritz Schmidt has a dif­fi­cult time eval­u­at­ing his atti­tudes about the war and exam­in­ing where his loy­al­ties should lie. Brought up by his father, a news reporter, to be proud of his Ger­man her­itage, Moritz admir­ing­ly watched as his father went to bat­tle and coura­geous­ly sac­ri­ficed his life for his coun­try. For what, thinks Moritz, as he now sees his friends and fam­i­ly fight­ing des­per­ate­ly to sur­vive each day on mea­ger food rations and sus­pend­ed wages. His moth­er, a bit of rebel, has become a polit­i­cal leader and a pop­u­lar speak­er for the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Work­ers. Moritz, who dreams of being a writer, is offered a job with the Berlin­er Dai­ly where his father worked, and has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cov­er his mother’s activ­i­ties. For six­teen-year-old Moritz, his work is a true awak­en­ing to the world around him as he encoun­ters peers who are involved in ille­gal arms smug­gling and food trad­ing, and falls in love with a Jew­ish girl. Final­ly, when his old­er broth­er, Hans, returns home from the war, bit­ter on the inside and severe­ly wound­ed, Moritz real­izes that he must make his own choic­es and not hide in the shad­ow of his old­er broth­er. The first per­son nar­ra­tive com­bined with mem­o­rable char­ac­ters and fine details makes this pow­er­ful his­tor­i­cal fic­tion an excel­lent com­ing of age sto­ry. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and up.
Debra Gold has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 20 years in the Cuya­hoga Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Sys­tem. An active mem­ber of the ALA, she has served on many com­mit­tees includ­ing the Calde­cott, New­bery and Batchelder committees.

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