Under the Java Moon

Heather B.

What would you do if you found yourself suddenly forced to leave behind everything you knew? Rita is only a child when her family is forced out of their home and into an internment camp near their Netherland East Indies (now Indonesia) home. For three years she was forced to live in dangerous—and often deadly conditions—alongside her younger brother, pregnant mother, and elderly Oma. Survival is a daily fight, and Rita's family is forced to live in conditions that many do not survive. Told by the adult Rita, now called Mary by her family, this book covers a portion of history that many are unaware even happened, and is a heartbreaking story of one of thousands of families who were forced into internment camps on the island of Java during World War II, under Japanese occupation.

The author has given a rare look into the life of Rita's family, and does an amazing job at expressing both the confusion and pain, along with small moments of joy and lots of love. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with unspeakable horror, but also with the unending determination of families fighting to survive while caught up in a World War. The story is told from several points of view, and while it’s being told to the author by Rita, we are given insight into the feelings of her other family members, including her mother and father. The reader will be satisfied with the amount of background research the author put into this story to give us insight that the young Rita may not have been aware of at the time. Emotional and touching from beginning to end.

Valerie Vicars