Against the Odds (Een kleine kans) has been published by Canadian publishers Groundwood Books. Editor Patsy Aldana wrote a letter of recommendation which was so embarrassingly flattering that I refrained from putting it on my website. It would look too much like self-adulation. But as it has now been put on the NLPVF-website for anyone to see, I might as well …
Every now and then a publisher is lucky enough to come upon an exceptional book.
That is the case with Against the Odds by Marjolijn Hof. Originally published in Holland as Een kleine kans by Querido, on of Holland’s finest publishers, it has gone on to win two major Dutch awards and to publication in nine countries. It was our luck to get North American rights.
This is one of those rare books where the author manages to bring us the pure, unadulterated voice of a child. The book never slips from this voice. We find ourselves believing in Kiki from beginning to end. And Kiki who is a very brave, spunky and often funny child has a lot to endure. The fact that her father insists on going off on dangerous missions as a doctor despite her making it very clear to him that she doesn’t want him to go; the fact that her mother while loving is also somewhat vague and spaced out; the fact that her grandmother is furious with her father which doesn’t make it any easier for her to be furious on her own account; and the fact that the family dog is quite smelly and disgusting all come to a head when her father goes missing.
I’ll leave the rest of the story to you.
But please read this book. It is impeccable, brave, honest, and true with a wonderful heroine. It deals with issues that are absolutely pertinent at this moment in time. And I believe that young readers will recognise Kiki for one of them, the real thing, and will embrace her as she tries to find the right way to live with the difficult cards that have been dealt her.
I’m very proud to have this book on Groundwood’s list.