by Rita la Fontaine de Clercq ZubliSyndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780763633295]
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Due to the foresight of he priest, 12-year-old Rita was disguised as a boy and became Rick while the Japanese occupied Sumatra during World War II. Although she didn't understand the risk of being a girl, the plan was to shield her from being conscripted as a "comfort woman" to serve enemy soldiers. After the takeover, her Dutch-Indonesian family became prisoners of war. This extraordinary memoir provides a firsthand look at Rick's life as a privileged prisoner as well as a child growing up in a time of war. Before being sent to a POW camp, Rick took a job to help support her family and learned Japanese. This made her an invaluable asset to prison wardens, who used her language skills to help run the camps. In this role, Rick experienced exceptional circumstances that challenged her to cope with adult issues. She witnessed intimate scenes and was cornered by a soldier who explained that boys can have sexual relations, too. While she maintained a quality of innocence, these incidents and her descriptions of squalid conditions in the camps beg for a mature audience. Still, Rita/Rick is engaging, with an authentic voice that gives substance to the facts.—Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library
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