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Beyond Paradise Hardcover – August, 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While the title of this first novel might suggest otherwise, the substance of Hertenstein's story is fairly grimAan American teenager's experience in internment camps in the Philippines during WWII. "How would you like to go to paradise?" asks Louise Keller's father, a Baptist minister who has accepted a position as a missionary on the small island of Panay. Fourteen-year-old Louise, a writer of poetry who chafes at small-town life, is eager for the change. But the new experiences Louise has dreamed of soon turn nightmarish: when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, the war, which had seemed so far away, rapidly threatens their island existence. Separated from her father, burdened with her seriously depressed mother, Louise first joins the missionaries in a makeshift camp in the jungle to hide from the invading Japanese, but they are soon captured and sent to internment camps. Louise's narration rarely sounds like a teenager's, and the prose feels overwritten in spots. And by covering such a large swath of time and introducing so many secondary characters, Hertenstein sacrifices depth for breadth; the few superficial moments of character development she grants Louise (the discovery of her grandmother's suicide; her revelation that the Japanese are human, too) feel unconnected and unconvincing. But while the story is not especially moving, it has value as an introduction to a little-known slice of American history. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-Using firsthand accounts from survivors of Philippine internment camps, Hertenstein creates an interesting and unique story. Fourteen-year-old Jean Louise Keller, the daughter of a Baptist minister, moves from Ohio to a remote Philippine island when her father accepts a missionary position there. Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, he is separated from his wife and daughter. As the war moves closer, Louise and her mother escape to the jungle with others from their compound but are soon discovered by the Japanese and imprisoned. In a plot that moves rapidly through the years, Louise experiences the war from a series of detention camps, encountering other missionary families, eccentric prisoners, locals from the islands, as well as Japanese and American soldiers. She finds good and evil in unexpected places, as the author explores the complicated issue of the humanity of one's enemies. When the war ends, Louise's dreams of freedom and good food become a reality. Narrated by the young girl, an aspiring poet, the story has characters that come alive in a setting that is vividly captured. While the full horror of the camps does not come through, readers will enjoy this inspirational book.
Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Morrow Junior Books; First Edition edition (August 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688163815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688163815
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,982,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a nine to twelve year old girl in the Japanese internment camp, Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila, P I, I had many of the same experiences as Louise Keller. I was several years younger than Louise but the accuracy of Jane Hertenstein's novel is amazing. A friend gave me the book on Wednesday afternoon. I read the book Wednesday evening and was "blown" away. My memories came flooding in and my emotions flooding out. Ms. Hertenstein has done her homework. I would love to get in touch with her just to tell her how much I appreciated reading Beyond Paradise and that I have ordered six copies for my friends and my sister. I know of three different groups who are, at this time, are on their way over to the Philippines for the fifty fifth reunion of our liberation from the Japanese. By the way, I was born in Iloilo on the island of Panay in the Philippines!
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By A Customer on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Beyond Paradise and I loved it. The author, Jane Hertenstein, used wonderful description, and I had a picture of each scene painted in my head. This book is a great way to teach us about the tragedies that took place in other countries during World War II.
This book is about a fifteen year old girl, Louise and her family. They move to the Philippines during the beginning of World War II. As her father goes out to meet their friend's son, he is captured by the Japanese. Louise's Mother then feels awful and is too weak to do anything. Next, her family is captured too, but they are sent to a different internment camp called Santo Tomas Internment Camp. After suffering a whole year there she is told they well be set free. Everyone piles onto a ship when they are informed that they are just being sent to another camp. Then, it occurs to Louise that this was the camp her father was at. When she finally arrives she is informed that her father was just sent away. Finally she meets up with her father and they are all in the same camp together. After another year the American soldiers come and set them free. Louise becomes friends with a young soldier but eventually has to say a sad goodbye when Louise Keller returns to America.
I recommend this book to anyone from ages 9-13. It has a wonderful plotline and extremely interesting characters. I was always eager to turn the page and find out what happened next.
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Format: Hardcover
Jane Hertenstein has written a stellar, fictional account of a young girl whose family deals with internment in the Philippines during WWII. I read this as an adult when it was first published and cannot count how many times I've recommended it to various adolescents, adults, and teachers. None will be disappointed and all will be moved and enlightened by this fantastic book.
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Format: Hardcover
...you'll love Beyond Paradise. Ms. Hartenstein's writing is subtle and beautiful. She handles a horrific experience, interrment during WWII, gently but honestly, for young readers. The main character, Louise, keeps a journal of poetry. These lovely poems are sprinkled through the text. I highly recommend this book, and I hope Ms Hertenstein writes more! END
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