A heartbreaking novel based on the true story of a World War II voyage.
In May of 1939, the SS St. Francis sets sail from Germany, carrying German Jews and other refugees away from Hitler’s regime. The passengers believe they are bound for freedom in Cuba and eventually the United States, but not all of them are celebrating. Fifteen-year-old Thomas is anxious about his parents and didn’t want to leave Germany: his father, a Jew, has been imprisoned and his mother, a Christian, is left behind, alone. Fourteen-yearold Priska has her family with her, and she’s determined to enjoy the voyage, looking forward to their new lives.
Based on the true story of the MS St. Louis, this historical young adult novel imagines two travelers and the lives they may have lived until events, and immigration laws, conspired to change their fates. Kim Ablon Whitney did meticulous research on the voyage of the St. Louis to craft her compelling and moving story about this little-known event in history.
From the Hardcover edition.
Kim Ablon Whitney
Mass Market Paperback
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's 1939, and things have steadily grown worse for the Jews of Germany.
Fifteen-year-old Thomas Werkmann has witnessed firsthand just how cruel the Nazis can be, and his mother has scraped together the money to send him to Cuba on the tourist boat, the MS Francis, along with over 900 other Jews hoping to escape persecution. Upon their leaving in Hamburg, Thomas is unwillingly befriended by the two daughters of a German literature professor.
Although jealous of the Affeldts and the fact that their family has managed to escape the country together, unlike his own, Thomas finds himself drawn to the 14-year-old Priska, regardless of her seemingly foolish optimism and overly friendly nature.
During their two-week voyage across the Atlantic, Thomas - and eventually Priska - grow suspicious about several things that seem to be happening on their ship.
Why is the crew treating the Jews with respect when Jews aren't considered citizens anymore? Why...
THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE KIM ABLON WHITNEY Historical YA Knopf ISBN# 978-0-375-85219-0 234 Pages $[...] Hardcover--Available May 12, 2009
Rating: 4.5 Enchantments
THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE is based on the true story of a World War II voyage. Its May 1939 and the SS St. Francis is setting sail for Cuba and eventually the U.S. filled with Jewish refugees desperate for a new life in a new land. However, none of them could be prepared for the events that are about to take place that will change everyone's lives forever.
Fifteen year old Thomas is traveling alone. His Jewish father has been imprisoned and his Christian mother has scraped together enough money for his passage. Alone and frightened, he finds himself befriended by a family on an upper deck and slowly a relationship begins to form between Thomas and fourteen year old Priska. Its obvious as you read the story that the author did a great job of researching the events...
In May 1939, fifteen-year-old Thomas along with over 900 Jews began their voyage from Nazi Germany to Cuba. Thomas must go on this voyage alone because his family can only afford one ticket. His father is imprisoned in Dachau, while his mother will be safe because she is Christian. In Cuba, Thomas will meet up with his half-brother. On the SS St. Francis, Thomas meets Priska, a fourteen-year-old girl who is traveling with her parents and younger sister. When he is not spending time with Priska and other kids, Thomas spends time playing chess. However soon, Thomas becomes suspicious of some of the crew members. Why would Nazi members treat Jews so well?
The Other Half of Life is based on the true story of the MS St. Louis. Before I read this novel, I had never heard of the MS St. Louis. I guess the magnititude of the other events of WWII make this story seem too insignificant to mention. :/ Anyways, I really enjoyed The Other Half of Life. Whitney really did her research! At...
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