Now by Morris Gleitzman
Zelda has a present for Felix. It’s the last book in a collection he’s been collecting for years. On the way home, several girls stop Zelda and bully her. They take the locket, which isn’t really Zelda’s but Felix’s. The locked used to belong to another Zelda, but that Zelda is gone now. Zelda is named for her. The girls are mean, but ultimately, Zelda gets the locket back.
She fears her birthday present for Felix is ruined, but the birthday turns out to be a fairly good event. Felix is Zelda’s grandfather and he is a well-known doctor. He has saved many lives, but Felix also lived through WWII. He saw things that changed him forever and led him to wanting to be a doctor. Zelda’s own parents are away in Africa being doctors in far away lands to children and people who need help. Zelda is lonely, but Felix is also a very good grandfather.
For Felix’s birthday, a lot of former patients and hospital staff get together to give thanks to Felix for being a hero, but Felix does not feel he is a hero.
Later on, a wildfire starts. At first the fire is far enough away from home, but the fire changes directions and soon comes straight towards the house. Felix is able to save Zelda and even the dog, Jumble, but then Felix has to help save another person and Zelda is there right alongside him to do it.
What I liked
I haven’t read the other books in the series yet. There are two. The author wrote the series in such a way that each book would be able to stand on its own. We know something happened to Felix in WWII, but we don’t necessarily have to know what exactly happened to enjoy reading this book.
Each of the chapters starts with the word “now.” This book is very present. I really like the idea of delineating time in this manner. Now we’re doing this. Now we’re doing that. Now the sky is blue. It’s a tool for writing, but it also keeps the reader in a present state of mind.
Felix and Zelda both seem like very interesting people. They’re both strong in their own ways.
What I didn’t like
I don’t like that Zelda got bullied and I don’t like that Felix feels as if he is not a hero. If you save people’s lives, you area hero, even if you may not feel as if you are. It takes a lot from a person to put forth the effort to save someone’s life. I know there are things about Felix that I don’t know yet and more will be explained as I read the series, but I feel like Felix probably deserves the praise that he gets.
So far this book series seems interesting and I think Felix and Zelda are both great people.
If aiding and saving life is part of your profession, do you feel like a hero, or do you feel as if it’s just your job?
Do you think past guilt over something can negate all the good things you’ve done, in your head?