Words on Fire: A Review

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Books, books, books, oh, how I love to read them...

Liliana Owen, Journalist

Wow, that was deep!

And inspirational!

Those thoughts echoed through my head as I set down a book I had just finished. Words on Fire by Jennifer A Nielson is a phenomenal novel that discusses the importance of books for culture and culture to an identity.

Words on Fire is set in Lithuania, back when there was still a czar (pronounced like ‘zar’) of Russia. Russia had taken over Lithuania. After a couple of failed revolutions by the Lithuanians, the Russians attempt to get rid of their culture. After all, without culture, a nation is without an identity and a nation without an identity can easily be molded into whatever the invaders want.

How do they do this? They ban the Lithuanian language, religion, and books. Without words, without a knowledge of their past and present and of what they could be in the future, they would have no culture.

Audra’s parents give their lives for a secret resistance focused on protecting and distributing these banned books, leaving her with an order to deliver a book. Audra gets involved in the resistance at first hoping to find a way to rescue her parents from their imminent deaths, but then realizes the importance of books and gives herself, heart and soul, to the resistance.

This book brings up important questions in my mind. Are we, the United States, slowly losing our culture, and thus, our identity because we are forgetting to value and read books? After all, as Mark Twain said, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.”

All in all, Words on Fire is a powerful classic. Jennifer A Nielson gets 5/5 stars again!