We also meet Waldy’s parents, a divorced white woman with four older children and a young black student from Suriname, themselves deeply in love and having created a magical space for their family and the community they cultivate in the middle of the chaos around them. Love doesn’t conquer all, however, and the family’s joy and connection cannot save them from bigotry and betrayal. While young Waldy himself survives the war, he’s alone and cast adrift, struggling to find his place in a devastated world without the family that nurtured him.
And I’m certainly not alone in being touched by Waldy and his family. Author Annejet van der Zijl’s biography of the boy who lost so much during the war, a book that afterward touched millions of people in her native country, was a long-running bestseller there. It is considered a contemporary classic, topping the favorite-book charts year after year along with other classics like The Diary of Anne Frank.
But Waldy’s story is not simply one of loss—through van der Zijl’s research, the adult Waldy recovers more memories of his parents, has many questions answered, and shares their stories, earning them all a place in readers’ hearts. I hope they find a place in yours, too.
- Elizabeth DeNoma, Editor