Emily's Reviews > If I Should Die Before I Wake

If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan
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's review
May 06, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult

Since I had to read this for a class, I didn't like it as much as the other books I had to read for class. This one was hard to get into, but the character switches didn't give me any trouble. I don't remember the book ever going into much detail about why Hilary hates the Jews except that her father was killed because of the supposed dirty trading his possibly Jewish boss might have been involved in. Her anger at her mother is evident in the dialogue because readers learn that her mother abandoned her for three days in their home while she went to find Jesus. I think Hilary is trying to find comfort anywhere so she joins the Great Aryan Warriors and falls for one of the boys involved. Of course, young Hilary becomes wrapped up in her relationship with the boy, Brad, and she ends up endangering the life of her schoolmate Simon and risking her own life on Brad's motorcycle. I had many theories about who Chana may have been in this book. I'm the kind of person that likes to know and understand the relationships between people in the novel and this one was definitely hard to put together. I don't think the end even gave me much more closure. My theory that Chana was the patient in the room with Hilary seems to be correct for the most part. I liked how at the end of Chana's life she tells Hilary that she can change the world if she changes herself but I still didn't like the ending of the book because it doesn't really explain why Hilary is now calling her own mother "Mama" when she never did before and I don't like how Hilary's memories all seem to jumble together. There is no real explanation for why Hilary sees Chana's life and then how or why she remembers her own life as well. I think this would be a hard book to teach in school because the end didn't give me enough answers to help my students find the answers to their own questions that they will have. I feel like the ending is letting me down. I will have to re-read this book in the future to better understand the ending. It just seemed like Nolan was getting tired of writing and needed a way to end the book in a way that doesn't do enough justice to Hilary's own survival.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 6, 2011 – Shelved
March 20, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Rachel Murray Actually the book explains many of the things you find confusing. Chana had this special gift to be able to share her life. Chana then shared her life with Hilary. Hilary also starts calling her mother "Mama" because Chana called her mother "Mama. And yes Chana is the grandma lady and the other patient.

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