Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book review: My Story: Berlin Olympics by Vince Cross

My Story: Berlin Olympics by Vince Cross (Published by Scholastic, April 5, 2012)

Fourteen-year-old Eleanor Rhys Davis, called Ellie by her friends, lives in England in 1935. She is a very talented swimmer, but she doesn't always get the best grades in school. One of her teachers encourages her to start writing in a diary. At first, she doesn't have much to write about, and so she describes school, swimming practice, and spending time with her two best friends, who are also swimmers - Sarah, who she grew up with, and Tara, a new girl at school who is the daughter of an American diplomat. Sarah is Jewish, and although she and her parents were born in England, her grandparents were immigrants from Germany. She is worried about her relatives who still live in Germany, since the Nazis have begun to pass laws that restrict the rights of Jewish people.

As Ellie and Sarah's swimming improves, their teacher, Mrs. Williams, suggest the girls should work hard at their training in hopes of being chosen for the British swim team for the 1936 Olympics which will be held in Berlin, Germany. However, as the rest of the world learns about how the Nazis are treating Jews and other people they consider "racially inferior," there is debate in some countries about not participating in protest.

Although this book was not one of my favorites from the My Story series, I did enjoy it. I hadn't known much about the 1936 Olympics before reading this book, so I did learn some interesting history. I think certain parts of the story could have used more detail, and I was disappointed that it ended so abrubtly, with everything being wrapped up in an epilogue set several years later. Readers who enjoyed other books in the My Story series will probably enjoy this book as well, but if you are new to the series, many of the other books are a better choice to start with, unless you are particularly interested in the subject and historical setting of this book.

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