Review: The Dog in the Wood

Posted on April 1, 2010

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The Dog in the Wood
By Monika Schröder
Front Street
November 2009
162 pages

The setting is East Germany at the end of World War II. Ten-year old Fritz and his family face an unknown future as they fearfully await the invasion of the Russian Army. His grandfather, a Nazi sympathizer, vows to fight to the death. But Fritz knows they are no match for the Russian soldiers. Fritz and his mother and sister, Irmi are tired of fighting. They lost his father in the war and they long for peace. What they do not yet understand is the price of that peace.

Fritz endures the death of his grandparents, the occupation of their home by the Russian military, and eventually the loss of their farm, all with incredible strength. But when his mother is falsely accused of hiding weapons, is arrested and hauled away in the back of truck Fritz fights back. Risking everything he borrows a bike and pedals to the Russian headquarters in a nearby town to confront the Commander.   

Based on Schröder’s father’s childhood experiences in East Germany after the war, this is the story of a young boy’s courage in the face of impossible circumstances. The hardships that befall Fritz and his family portray the aftermath of war from a child’s point of view and show that war has an echo that lingers on long after the bombings stop. 

Copyright (c) 2010 by Peggy Tibbetts

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