Two reviewers from Year 8 discuss Elizabeth Laird’s novel A Little Piece of Ground, which focuses on the lives of young boys growing up in Ramallah, Palestine. 

Noredin Bakkali

****

A Little Piece of Ground, written by Elizabeth Laird, is an emotional and moving story that tells of how a young boy named Karim lives through the Israeli occupation in his hometown, Ramallah.

Laird uses a consistent supply of emotive adjectives to convey Karim’s thoughts and feelings. This is particularly noticeable when we watch Karim surviving a series of troubling events. Furthermore, Laird’s detailed third person narration makes it easy to engage with Karim’s character and this truly immerses the reader in the novel.

Additionally, the author’s gripping use of imagery creates a vivid scene of Karim’s world in the reader’s mind. We can easily imagine what Karim can hear, see and touch, and this contributes to the novel’s realism.

To conclude, Elizabeth Laird’s wonderful, emotionally charged novel informs us of the hardships faced by children and young people living in the occupied territories, and teaches us that those living in Palestine share many of the same hopes and dreams.

____________________________________________________________________________

Tyrese Pryce

*****

In Elizabeth Laird’s controversial novel A Little Piece of Ground the author presents the experience of young Palestinian boys living in Ramallah, a city that is occupied by Israeli forces. Throughout the novel Laird presents the Palestinians as the victims of the hostile Israeli army, and although the perspective might be one-sided, A Little Piece of Ground is a powerful, persuasive book that is gripping from beginning to end.

Laird’s characterisation is fairly successful as her main characters are drawn in great detail. For example the novel’s protagonist, Karim, is described as being an ordinary boy and this is crucial as it means that young readers can easily relate to the character. Boys in particular will empathise with Karim’s obsession with football and his love of video games.

A Little Piece of Ground is set in Palestine and Laird describes the landscape in great detail in order to reveal the shocking conditions that the Palestinians are forced to live in under the occupation. We read, for example, of whole neighbourhoods demolished by Israeli tanks and schools ransacked. However, due to this focus on Palestine Laird fails to include any descriptions of Israel and barely mentions the suffering that the conflict has caused Israelis; this is a major weakness of the novel.

Overall A Little Piece of Ground is a fascinating book that provides an important insight into life for young people in Palestine. If you’re interested in other cultures, or the experience of living in war zones then this is the book for you.

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About Miss Thomas

I am an English teacher at The City Academy, Hackney.

9 responses »

  1. Saneeta says:

    Great review Tyrese, I love this book because the theme is really cool and diffrent.

  2. Tarik Brir says:

    GOOD REVIEW TYRESE!

  3. Leyla Durmaz says:

    Yes I also agree, you have written a very good review.

  4. Cherno ann says:

    Nice review, you made me want to read the book.

  5. lulu says:

    Makes me want to read it again.

  6. Momo says:

    Very good review Tyrese, I agree with your review.

  7. ClaireMcA says:

    A wonderful review, but I do wonder given that it is a novel, is it necessary for it to be politically balanced? If it is a story about young boys living in Ramallah, then that is what we expect to read about. If they befriend a young boy living in Israel, perhaps we might expect to read about where he lives as well.

    Unfortunately whenever the subject of Palestine arises there seems to be a perceived need to be politically correct or balanced.

  8. Na'Imah says:

    A very good review, I like the way you have commented on the novel’s bias.

  9. mohammed.o says:

    Very very exellent review Tyrese, I love A Little Piece of Ground.

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