An Elephant in the Garden
‘An Elephant in the Garden’ is a touching story set up during the time of the 2nd world war. The story is narrated by an older woman, Lizzie, to her nurse and her son at a nursing home. It’s a story about Lizzie’s experiences as a 16-year-old girl. With her father gone to fight in the war, she lives with her mother and younger brother Karli in Dresden. This is a time when many cities in Germany have already been bombed, and the allies are expected to attack Dresden anytime.
Lizzies’ mom works at the zoo and decides to bring home a baby elephant (to who she is deeply attached) in the evenings to save it from being killed in the bombings. One day as all of them are out for a stroll, the bombings start. Their home is among the many in the city of Dresden that get burnt. With no house left, the family, along with the elephant, starts a long and arduous journey of escaping and finding refuge in various places. The author vividly captures the emotions, feelings, and experiences of 16-year-old Lizzie as she takes up this perilous journey with her family.
The story also gives the reader a glimpse into the Germans’ lives during the war as they leave everything behind -their home, their friends, and everything they had built through many years to save their lives. Many Germans, like Lizzie’s family, undergo a similar experience. Some cannot make it all the way, while others manage to finally reach the Americans coming from the West and find refuge.
It is a heartwarming story of love, friendship, and hope in the darkest times. It makes one believe that even the hardest of times pass. One has to keep going. It is undoubtedly an interesting book for adults and children upwards of 12 years.
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