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Saturday, October 8, 2011

"I Am David"

by Anne Holm, YR, 1965 English, 1963 Danish, 239p, rating=5
*Originally published under the title David in Denmark.  Later published in the United States as North to Freedom and then later made into the movie I Am David.

David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly concentration camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. Sensing his enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive? (book cover)

Finally!  A superb book landed in my hands!!  I was completely mesmerized and utterly clinging to the story's journey, especially on the last 10 pages.  I tell ya, David would be a great poster boy for integrity.  I loved his character development.  Too good to be true as he may be, the walk of his life was a message of love, life, and prospect.  Brilliant! 

I agree with The Horn Book, "Read it, read it!".  Be warned though, brace your heart.

My quote-ables:
"I don't know anything!  How can I stay free when I don't know what everybody else knows!  I don't even know what's good to eat and what's poisonous..." pg 38

"In the camp, thinking would have made life unbearable, but when you were free, it was necessary..." pg 54

"God of the green pastures and the still waters, I am David and I choose You as my God!  But You must please understand that I can't do anything for You, because I've always been in a wicked place where no one could think or learn or get to know anything, and so I know nothing about what people ought to do for their God.  But the David Johannes used to talk about knew that even if he couldn't see You, You were there and were stronger than any men.  I pray You will help me so that they won't catch me again.  Then perhaps I can gradually find out about You so that I can do something in return ... I am David, Amen." pg 68-69

"Johannes said that when you very much want something you haven't got, you no longer care for what you have got.  I'm not sure that I understand, but I suppose he meant that things are only worth having if you think they are."  pg 83-84

"But he would have to do it on his own; since he had not found anything he could do in return, he could not go on asking God for things --it would be greedy, and God might very soon grow tired of a boy who was always frightened and could never do anything for himself."  pg 94

"God of the green pastures and the still waters, please don't help me.  I want to do it by myself so that You'll know I've found something I can do for You ... I am David.  Amen."  pg 106

"Joy passed, but happiness never completely disappeared; a touch of it would always remain to remind one it had been there.  It was happiness that made one smile, then.  He would always remember that."  pg 113

"Politeness is something you owe other people, because when you show a little courtesy, everything becomes easier and better.  But first and foremost, it's something you owe yourself.  You are David.  And if you never allow other people to influence what you're really like, then you've something no one can take from you --not even they."  pg 121

"It's horrible and wicked ... and no one has any right to take other people prisoner.  Everybody has a right to his life and freedom, and anyone who takes them away has lost his own right to be a human being."  pg137

"The way you spoke was a reflection of how you thought, and that could not possibly have anything to do with whether you were a tramp or whether you had somewhere to live and had many things of your own."  pg 169

"All suffering has an end, David, if only you wait long enough."  pg 194

"Johannes had once said that violence and cruelty were just a stupid person's way of making himself felt, because it was easier to use your hands to strike a blow than to use your brain to find a logical and just solution to a problem."  pg 201

"Never let me hear you say it's someone else's fault.  It often is, but you must never shirk your own responsibility ... You can't change others, but you can do something about a fault in yourself."  pg 211

"... So one could get something for nothing after all?"  pg 234

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