Beth's Reviews > When the Elephants Dance

When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
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's review
Jul 26, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: bookgroup
Read in March, 2007

When the Elephants Dance is the story of the Philippine's during WWII after the Japanese had taken control of the islands. Due to exorbitant costs and danger of death most families at that time hid with local neighbors and friends, only going out to trade or search for food to survive. This book is the story of one family - hiding in their basement with 11 neighbors and friends.

The book is broken down into 3 main parts - the first being told by the 2nd child Alenjandro, the second being told by the older sister Isabelle and the third being told by the guerilla leader (and friend of this family) Domingo. Interwoven into each of these three parts are stories from the elders that are hiding with them - stories from their childhood that teach lessons or morals pertaining to what that narrator is going through in that moment.

These lyrical stories interwoven with the desperation of the times make for a breathtaking story and subtly teaches you a lot about the Philippines. The character description in this book is phenomenal - it's one of those stories that you won't want to put down because it's riveting but that you won't want to end because you know you're going to miss the characters when it's over.
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