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Play to the Angel – tekijä: Maurine F.…

Play to the Angel (vuoden 2000 painos)

– tekijä: Maurine F. Dahlberg (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1713127,342 (3.69)1
In Vienna in 1938, in the shadow of an increasingly dangerous Nazi Germany, twelve-year-old Greta pursues her dream of becoming a concert pianist like her dead brother Kurt, despite a lack of support from her widowed mother.
Teoksen nimi:Play to the Angel
Kirjailijat:Maurine F. Dahlberg (Tekijä)
Info:Scholastic Inc. (2000), 185 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


Play to the Angel (tekijä: Maurine F. Dahlberg)


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näyttää 3/3
Play to the Angel by Maurine Dahlberg is a wonderful portrayal of the struggles of one young girl as she grows up and fights for her dreams, and of the struggles of Austria and its people as they fight to retain their freedom and identity against Nazi Germany. The characters, relationships, suspense, setting, and historical background are vivid, real, colorful, and engaging. The themes are deep and compelling, and the plot is skillfully drawn. I love the beautiful and meaningful symbolism of the title.

I would have rated this book 4.5 stars if not for two mild things that detracted from my enjoyment--concerns orminor content. As is, it's a solid 4 stars for me.

Reading this book gives me a fabulous outline of the events of the Anschluss of Austria in 1938-39, well providing a compelling story to allow the reader to connect with history. The back. Such a good job showing what life was like in Vienna before and after the Nazi conquest, in a way that makes me feel like I am experiencing it alone with the characters, with all my senses.

Greta is a wonderful protagonist. She shines brightly and makes the book as good as it is. I love her gentleness, determination, and spunk, even as I relate to her insecurity. I adore her love of music, and it saturates every aspect of her being, in such a beautiful, real, and natural way. Her artistic view of the world influences her music, and her music influences the way she goes about life and sees the world.

I love Greta's mentor, as well, and her memories of her brother. And her mother was such a lifelike and well-developed character, as were all the others. The relationships of the book were fascinating and realistic, especially the one at the center of the book--Greta's relationship with her mother.

Greta has such a vivid voice in her first-person narration--the author is one who perfectly captures the unique protagonist, with a distinct voice for each one. Greta has a beautiful, musical way of seeing and describing the world. The word pictures and writing style were gorgeous and delicate, crisp and clear, penetrating and powerful. I swear I physically felt a painful pit in my stomach during Greta's most anxious moment before the recital she dreamed of for so long--the writing was so vivid yet understated. Maybe it reminded me of my own nervousness before so many musical performances! Throughout the book, Greta's thoughts and feelings felt real, natural, and easy to connect with. The author did a fabulous job of portraying her deep grief in a powerful yet understated way, which I really appreciated.

I really appreciated the accurate, sensitive, and enlightening portrayal of one characters severe illness and lifelong disability--as well as the protagonist's thoughts and feelings.

There were two minor instances of content or concerns that detracted slightly from my enjoyment of the book. Nothing too serious, but I could have done without them.

The first was that in one paragraph, Greta realizes that she might have a crush on her professor and piano teacher, an older man several decides her senior--though she specified that it was not the kind of crush the other girls seem to have when giggling about boys. I don't blame her for feeling admiration and affection toward her mentor, but a crush crosses the line of what I'm comfortable with. That bit of weirdness made me uncomfortable for much of the book, even though it was only explicitly stated on one page. However, there is absolutely no weirdness coming from the professor's end, and it was only Greta who saw the relationship in that way--so it was only a little uncomfortable for me. But still, it felt wrong and weird to me, in a bad way. And it detracted from my enjoyment.

The second of my concerns was something that didn't bother me for myself, but which would keep me from giving this book to a middle-school-aged boy, and even some teenagers. Greta goes with her mom to buy her first bra, and she and her mom discreetly allude to the fact that her chest is growing larger, both of which make Greta uncomfortable and a little insecure. This recurs in multiple separate pages or chapters, even if it's just stated and not dwelt on. The language is vague, and the word "breast" is never used, but anyone could figure out what they're referring too, except perhaps someone who was entirely oblivious to such things (which I couldn't imagine). There's nothing inappropriate. My concern is that it would make a younger boy think about things that would be better postponed, if he hasn't pondered them yet... For a middle grade girl, however, I would not be concerned--ir's dealt with in a very tasteful way, and girls have to deal with it themselves.

This is the second book I have read by this author, after Escape to West Berlin, and both are wonderful. I plan to read more books by the author if I can find them.

I highly recommend Play to the Angel to anyone who enjoys World War II or quality juvenile fiction historical novels. ( )
  Aerelien | Mar 23, 2020 |
The drama in this novel comes from both the impact of the Nazis in Austria and Greta's relationship with her mother. This is a "gentle" Holcoaust book, in which most of the characters are not Jewish and the violence remains outside of concentration camps. Greta is a young pianist who, behind her mother's back for the most part, studies with a renowned and mysterious Jewish pianist, following her passion for music. From an adult perspective, the drama is muted a bit too much to be effective, but this might work with younger readers. ( )
  cavlibrary | Aug 9, 2016 |
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

This is a beautiful book that I'd read a long time ago, but almost completely forgotten. Seeing it in a bin at a book swap, I snatched it and brought it home so I could re-read it (and also, figure out which book it was - I had it muddled up with another WWII book that I still haven't been able to track down).

It really is a great story, and even though I can never entirely relate to piano-prodigy main characters (because who'm I kidding? I am so not a piano prodigy - I quit as soon as my parents let me!), I still love reading about people like Greta who are so dedicated to their art. I also like looking at the Holocaust from different angles, and the Viennese view of events has always particularly fascinated me. I can't imagine how terrible it must have been to be one minute a safe, independent country and the next minute - to not be.

I also have a penchant for characters with Hemophilia. I know that Kurt isn't actually in the book itself (he died before the book began), but his shadow hangs over the entire story, and I appreciated getting a look at the aftermath of the tragic disease. Kurt isn't just defined by his hemophilia, though, and I thought he was pretty well-fleshed out for not even being in the book at all. Greta is very obviously heartbroken about his death, and struggles with the conflict between trying to get out from under his legacy and forge her own name, and not wanting to give him up entirely.

I can't say I'm a big fan of Greta's mother, though. Actually, I really didn't like her. I don't care if she was so broken up about Kurt's death; she shouldn't have written Greta off like that! She's so wrapped up in mourning him, and trying to get herself together enough to move past his death, that she's completely blind to all that she's missing with her daughter. I know things were hard for her, but still. Also, she thought Hitler was a good guy for most of the book! I know she didn't really understand the horrors of what he was doing, but still. Not a big draw for me.

I did love Herr Kimmel, though, and I liked how his backstory tied Greta's piano-playing together with the events that were unfolding at the beginning of WWII. I really liked the ending, when everything came together, and I closed the book with a nice satisfied feeling.

I highly recommend Play to the Angel to anyone who thinks it looks interesting, and will definitely keep it in mind going forward, as a go-to WWII book for anyone who wants a good WWII book (including younger kids not yet ready for the more gruesome books about concentration camps, Nazi cruelty, etc). ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
näyttää 3/3
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In Vienna in 1938, in the shadow of an increasingly dangerous Nazi Germany, twelve-year-old Greta pursues her dream of becoming a concert pianist like her dead brother Kurt, despite a lack of support from her widowed mother.

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