Oranges In No Man’s Land

Elizabeth Laird

Macmillan

1904442714

Sept 2006

The tragedy of this book is that it feels so contemporary. Set during the civil war that Lebanon appeared to have put behind it, last summer’s military stand off between Israel and Hezbollah gives it a very ‘now’ feel.
Oranges In No Man’s Land tells the tale of Ayesha, a young girl whose mother was killed in the war and now lives in a crowded squat along with a host of other fugitives from the fighting.
With her father abroad trying to find work, the key figure in her life is her granny. But when granny’s medicine starts to run out with serious implications, Ayesha has to visit the doctors to restock her supplies.
The problem is that the doctor who supplied them lives on the other side of town, in enemy territory.
This is a book that portrays well the bravery required by those who live in such tragic circumstances and the quick wittedness needed to stay out of trouble.
For adults who grew up on the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew this book redefines those adventures as the stuff of comics. For the target audience it puts any complaints that ‘life’s not fair’ into their real perspective.
There’s been a fair bit of comment about teen books that portray the darker side of life but this book brings the reality of war and displacement home to a much younger audience.

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