Once, a novel, written by Morris Gleitzman. It follows the story about a young Jewish boy known as Felix, who takes note of the events going on throughout his journey through Poland during World War 2. Felix is a young boy who ventures out to the deepest parts of Poland to find his parents.
The concept of Once was originally thought up by Morris Gleitzman (The author of the Once series) with intention of creating a story about a delusional boy, on an adventure during World War 2.
Once has a unique style of writing. The author has written this story with great care, making sure that Felix (the main character) didn’t seem like a smart character who knew a lot about the world. This was proven when Felix did not know that Adolf Hitler was against Jews (Felix commonly prayed to him). He also starts each chapter in a different manner, starting each chapter with the word “Once”. Felix also tries to make things that are outdated, relatable. A quote from the novel proving this point is,” You know how when a nun serves you very hot soup from a big metal pot and she makes you lean in close so she doesn’t drip and the steam from the pot makes your spectacles go all misty and you can’t wipe them because you’re holding your dinner bowl and the fog doesn’t clear even when you pray to God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Pope and Adolf Hitler?”
Once has an emotional touch during some parts of the story, an example being when Zelda was found to be the only one alive of her family. This was an attempt to trigger the emotion of sadness. Another example may be when Felix abandoned the orphanage he lived in for many years. This encouraged the reader to feel a sense of pride, reason being that Felix was happy to set out on his journey to find his family.
Once is an extremely descriptive book, making it easy to get a good picture in your mind of the situation. This gives the reader an advantage when attempting to visualise an event.
The most interesting parts of once are the action parts of the story. When Felix and Zelda arrived at the city, there were many pointless fights going on with the civilians and the WW2 German Soldiers. This also links to the emotional parts of the story, triggering a sense of defeat. Another amazing action scene was when Felix and Zelda jumped out of the WW2 German Soldier death train.
One thing that the author could have worked on in Once is that at times, he tends to add sentences that do not make sense, a quote from the story being “Once I lay in a haystack.” This sentence did not make sense, in the context of the story line.
Overall Once is an amazing adventure novel. It has many great aspects to it, from its action to is emotional impact. The negative aspects were also fairly subtle so the good things stood out.
Once would most likely be recommended to people from around 11-14 due to the fact that this book contains darker themes, suitable for teenagers. After surveying multiple people, Once managed to get a total out 3.5 out of 5.