Best Book of March: My Enemy, My Brother by James Forman

I returned home this month and am getting back on track with my routines and responsibilities, including reading. With the exception of Sundays, I do not permit myself to read books during the day, a time I have committed to writing, blogging, and taking care of personal, professional, and household responsibilities. I know I can’t trust myself to take just a little bite out of a book and then put it down. So, my reading is relegated to evenings (along with keeping up with the online writing community.

Through the early part of this year I have felt somewhat discontent with my division of time and the number of books I am able to get to. However, this month has seemed better.

I have just finished reading what turns out to be my favorite book for this month. It was a “reread” dating back to the years when YA was still a new category. It is not my typical choice of book or subject matter, but I had it on my bookshelf and remembered being very moved by it, so I thought I’d return to it and see if it still packed the same punch.

My Enemy, My Brother, by  James Forman opens with the fall of Nazi Germany and the release of prisoners from the concentration camps. It follows the story of a survivor, Dan, who emerges with his grandfather, his lone living relative, to the nightmare that is war-ravaged Poland. As the two begin to rebuild their lives, Dan makes friends with a group of teens he meets who plan to emigrate to Israel. With his grandfather’s blessing, Dan joins them and the novel unfolds as he makes his way to Israel just as it is emerging as a sovereign nation.

The novel explores issues of love, friendship, nationalism, warfare and pacifism, the desire for freedom, and our common humanity as Dan navigates this new world.

Forman raises more questions than he answers, and various viewpoints are represented by different characters. The novel can provide a great jumping off place for discussion.

Reading My Enemy, My Brother, I was moved as I had been moved when I was young. This book will definitely return to my YA shelves to be visited someday in the future.

What is your favorite or the best book you read this month?