author : beth kephart
pages : [hardcover] 264
In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall–Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West.
This book was an interesting concept that didn’t end up working well for me. I don’t think that the writing style is one that I prefer to read. Honestly, the way that some of the sentences were worded and how the scenes were described confused me. I ended up with a disconnect to the characters and because this novel was rather short, I think that only made that feeling worse.
I liked reading about Ada and the wonderful graffiti she made. Yet I was confused about why she would risk endangering her family-and risking her life-by making these works of art. I understood that it was a kind of catharsis for her, creating the graffiti, but to me it didn’t add to the dramatic background of the book.
I have to admit that I don’t know much about the Berlin Wall so I was eager to see if this novel would give a great historical representation of this time period and teach me something new. Instead, it turned into an odd romance novel where Ada continuously pushed Stefan to escape the East and didn’t seem to respect the fact that he might not want to endanger himself or leave everything behind for her. It was also an interesting stylistic choice having Stefan’s portion of the narrative told in second person. Instead of drawing me closer to the character, I think it disappointed me because I wanted larger, powerful descriptions of his daily life and the oppression he faced.
Overall, it was a quick read that was okay for me. It was an interesting concept that didn’t entirely fill my interest but I feel like this is a novel others may enjoy.