YOU CAN’T SEE THE ELEPHANTS
By Susan Kreller
Translated by Elizabeth Gaffney
G P Putnam’s Sons, An Imprint of Penguin Group, 2015
This book starts with a definition: “THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM-a topic that everyone knows about but which, out of fear or a sense of discomfort, no one will discuss.”
It is told backward from the end of the story and it is a powerful story as it unfolds in the retelling. The first paragraph is this one: “What happened in the blue house brought me a lot of dirty looks. It also brought me my father. The looks continued until the end of summer, but my father went away again after only two hours. I really would have liked it if he stayed a little longer. Maybe at some point he would have told me that what I’d done wasn’t wrong after all, or just slightly wrong, almost right. But all that he thought, there in my grandparents’ garden, was to ask if I couldn’t have done things a little differently.”
With that opening the story unfolds as told by Mascha the main character. She horrifys the entire neighborhood by locking two children in what she calls the tiny blue house. This was her way of solving a problem that no one would talk to her about. She tried to talk to her grandparents, she called her father, and no one would help her. Her solution brought a great deal of attention to the situation that she wanted help to handle.
The setting was descriptive, especially the blue house descriptions. The dialogue was realistic between the children. I would recommend this story for a more mature reader maybe even a young adult reader. The story was so well told that readers will find themselves sweating as they read it.
For young people like Mascha who is thirteen it is sometimes very hard to get people to listen to you and help when you see something you know is wrong.
I give this story a five out of a possible five. It was an intense story about a very young person trying to solve a problem no adult will acknowledge.