Title: Run, Boy, Run. Uri Orlev. Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorrain Books.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: 10-15 years
Run, Boy, Run, a novel by Uri Orlev is about an eight year old boy who is struggling to survive the Holocaust. He has excaped from a work camp in Warsaw. He finds himself alone without his mother or father. His mother has disappeared and he finds his father dying in a field. Srulik decides to take the advice his father gave him and he keeps the fact that he is Jewish a secret to everyone that he meets. His struggle begins immediately. Srulik faced memory loss and goes by the name given to him by his father, Jurek. Jurek soon faces many obstacles wondering the countryside eating whatever he can find and working for what little money people will spare him. He loses his arm in an accident, yet perserves on and continues on as if he is not disabled at all.
Survival. Jurek is faced with life and death every day after he has escaped and saved his own life. The reader soon realized that this character will do anything to live. His will to live is amazing and inspiring. Jurek determination and courage to survive and beat the odds at such a young age is an inspriation to everyone who reads this novel. Jurek stays alive by any means possible, he lives in peoples barns and scrummages through trash cans to find scraps of food to feed his empty stomach.
Faith. Jurek never stopped believing that he could survive. He was forced to hide his religion at times but never went against his faith. He refused to give up and let the German’s capture him. It was his faith that allowed him to make it through the Polish countryside alive. This belief that things would be okay and that life was worth his suffering was a product of his childhood and the way his parants raised him. He owed it to his family, who lost their lives, that he fight to the best of his ability to survive.
This text would be best paired with a history lesson about the Holocaust. This is one of the few books that the main protagonists survives through the end of the story. The ways this story is narrated allows the reader to be right in the scene with the character. The character does lack emotional development. We sympathize with him by the situations he has describes not through the way he feels. It is crucial that students understand the historical details of the Holocause in order for them to be able to understand the story.
I really enjoyed this book. I must say that nothing surprised me or was out of the oridinary of the typical YA fictional Holocause novel. The character showed great endurance and resilence to everything that was thrown in his path. He also continued on ever after losing his arm. He acts as if it isn’t even missing. This is exceptionally inspirational. I would definitely recommend this novel to middle school students. It is a great alteranative to the Diary of Anne Frank.
This novel has received rave reviews. It won the Batchelder Award and was originally written in a foreign language and later translated to English. Good Reads.com calls it a “must read,” for children learning about the Holocaust. This realistic depiction of a Holocaust survivor can not be found anywhere. CriticCorner.com, calls it an “extraordinary novel that offers a different perspective of a Holocause survivor.”