Sasha Zaichik dreams of being a Young Pioneer. He is devote to Stalin and the Communist Party. He practices to be a Young Pioneer and writes letters to Stalin. But the day before he is to join his father is arrested, turned in by a neighbor who wants their larger room. At school Sasha acts like nothing has changed but then he accidentally breaks the nose off a stature of Stalin. Will he be sent to prison with his father? What is he going to do?
This was an engrossing read. I read it pretty much in one sitting. Sasha is a wonderful protaganist with a powerful voice. He truly believes in the Communist Party and is completely under its power. He wants to be part of Stalin’s machine. But when things start to fall apart he starts to question things. Why was his father arrested? Why hasn’t Stalin realized his mistake and let him go? He has never had any reason to question his faith before and now he is alone and questioning. This book is a powerful look at just how deep Stalin’s power went and how pervasive it was. Neighbors turned on each other, teachers asked students to turn on each other, even young children were arrested. I think the book is even more powerful because the author lived in Russia after Stalin’s reign. He knows what he is describing and he described it very well.