My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The sequel to When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Other Way Round is a darker, more sober book. Anna is now in London, war is hitting home, and she is growing up. Adolescence is not easy, and in the middle of wartime, it is even less.
Kerr’s writing remains ineffable. She is precise, concise, and exact. Each word has a weight, a value to it, that creates a deceptively simple and yet intensely acute effect. Anna / Judith is growing up. She is in love, she is out of love, she is hurt, she is happy, she is sad. There’s an immediacy to this young woman’s story that is defiantly appealing.
But there’s also a darkness to this book, in direct contradiction to the idealism present in When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Some of this is naturally due to Anna’s age, but a lot of this is due to the context. This story is in the middle of London in the middle of the Second World War. We have bombs, we have nights spent tight down in the cellar, and we have empty spaces where houses once stood.
The Other Way Round is a story that shifts the refugee experience into a search for self identity. Anna’s not running anymore and now she’s trying to find herself. It’s also a story about family, as many of Kerr’s are. The changing relationship between Anna and her parents is explored sensitively and poignantly and indeed painfully.
If you do not know Kerr’s work, her elegant, beautiful, and heartfelt work, then now is the time to become acquainted.