Breaking Stalin's Nose
middle grade, historical fiction
Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six:
The Young Pioneer is devoted to Comrade Stalin, the Communist Party, and Communism.A Young Pioneer is a reliable comrade and always acts according to conscience.
A Young Pioneer has a right to criticize shortcomings.
But now that it is finally time to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. He breaks a classmate's glasses with a snowball. He accidentally damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway. And worst of all, his father, the best Communist he knows, was arrested just last night.
Considering this book is both middle grade and historical fiction, I thought I'd love it. I was mostly disappointed. The story encompasses two days, and with such a short time there was no character development or fun anecdotes. Also, I felt Sasha had little depth- I didn't feel his heartbreak or confusion or any other feeling really.
The plot was good- few twists I didn't see coming, and the novel apptly showed how Stalin and Communism was viewed by the people. I especially like the part where the teacher talked about how because Russia was the only real democracy, the students will now take a vote. Five minutes later, a student is punished for voting against the majority- this taken as being against the people. There were many examples of the brainwash that were presented well.
Setting obviously was beautiful- Russia <3 span="">3>
Writing- not to my taste. I wasn't pulled in at all.
All in all? Not a satisfying read for me, might work for a younger kid though.