Author Jackie Minniti weaves a poignant tale of fear, friendship, hope, and faith in Jacqueline. This novel is based on the true story of ten-year-old Catholic Jacqueline and twelve-year-old Jewish David, during the final years of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. It is set in the town of Rennes and is a tale for both young and old.
Through bombings, air raids, ever-present hunger, constant fear, and death, Jacqueline, her widowed mother, and David live through the war. One day, when Jacqueline and David are away from their apartment building, the Nazis round up David’s family and ship them off to a transfer camp before their likely shipment to a concentration camp, and Jacqueline’s mother takes him under her wing and into her home.
War stories are not totally about armies and battles. They are about ideas, implementation of those ideas, and how that implementation affects ordinary people. Jacqueline lets the reader see the war through a child’s eye, which is perhaps the purest version of war…and the most touching. Among other heart-wrenching events, the great tragedy for Jacqueline and David may have been losing their childhoods.
The text is written in a way that flows smoothly, and the dialogue seems quite realistic. I think children of middle grades and beyond would find the book both enlightening and interesting. It is also a touching read for adults.
Minniti’s story resonates for all children, regardless of nationality, and is especially relevant for youngsters who find themselves in the midst of strife around the world today. It is a gem to read, and the author unequivocally allows the reader to feel the impact of war on young people. I would read it again and recommend it to friends, young and older.
MWSA Reviewer: Patricia Walkow (Feb 2018)
When ten-year-old Jacqueline Falna hears her mother’s scream, she is unaware that
the axis of her world is about to tilt. Her father’s plane has been shot down by German fighters. In the midst of poverty, food shortages, air raids, and the grinding hardship of daily life under Nazi rule, she forms an unlikely alliance with David Bergier, a twelve-year-old Jewish neighbor who poses as her cousin after his family is “relocated” by the Nazis. When Rennes is liberated, Jacqueline meets an American soldier and becomes convinced that he has been sent to reunite her with her father.
Based on a true story, “Jacqueline” is a tale of family, faith, unusual friendships, and
the resiliency of the human spirit set against the backdrop of occupied Rennes in
1944. With the drama of fiction and the authenticity of personal history, “Jacqueline”
is both a story about family and a family’s story.
ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 0996329080, ISBN-13: 978-0996329088, ASIN: B011SCVPJS
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Chapter Book
Number of Pages: 219