|Next Year in Israel by Sarah Bridgeton|
Now, I don't need to tell you that seven years to a child is a lifetime.
It doesn't help that Rebecca comes from a dysfunctional, broken home with no emotional support coming her way. She feels trapped and useless. In the midst of it all, she attempts to commit suicide.
Young or old, when reading this book, you feel Rebecca's pain, her sense of urgency and the struggle that she cannot overcome. It's a heart-breaking situation that happens more than we would like to admit. Fortunately for Rebecca, she gets the opportunity to take herself out of the hell that she had been living in for so long.
She goes to a boarding school in Israel and reinvents herself. She learns for the first time in her life what friendship means. Perchance because of her past struggles and pains, Rebecca is more sensitive to her peers and displays a deeper understanding in many ways. As the books draws on, the reader will notice that in typical teenage fashion, there are definite moments of raging hormones and dramatic highs and lows. And, of course, what group of teenage girls would be complete without agonizing over boys?
As Rebecca finally begins to appreciate herself and develop some self-confidence along her journey, I felt my own mood becoming more buoyant. It was a hard earned lesson that she had to travel half way around the world to learn. The author leaves the book open-ended. We never get to see what happens when she finally goes back home. But perhaps that is for the reader to interpret. In one way or another, is it possible that we have experienced or known a Rebecca in our lives? In this reader's imagination, Rebecca attained her own apex of survival with the steadfast resolve that she found within herself.
Next Year In Israel is thought provoking and poignant. It teaches us not to take things for granted. Life is always worth living.