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For a Lost Soldier

This story has been both acclaimed and vilified for its subject content, a boy's love for a solider during the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War II. It is a semi auto biographical account of a famous gay Dutch Dancer, Rudi van Danztig growing up and exploring his sexuality.

The story follows Rudi as he is evacuated from Amsterdam to rural Friesland in Northern Holland, where he slowly fits into the slower rural way of life. When the village is liberated by Canadian Soldiers at the end of the second world war, Rudi is "picked" by one of the soldiers. The story follows the highly unusual relationship that develops between the two, until the soldier leaves one day without a trace.

Like many people I came across this book after having seen the movie, after the movie was not recommended to me by my local video store!

The movie left me wanting so much more so I decided that I must run out and buy the book which I did the next day. I was in two minds about the story, it concerned me at first that the relationship between Walt and Jereom was one of abuse and power , although as I read more into the book and I followed stories on the web I realised it was so much more.

I am still a little hesitant about the age difference between Jereon and Walt, but came to realise as the book progressed that Jereon was a willing participant in all that transpired. However I feel as though this type of relationship between an adult and a young child while legal and acceptable in some parts of the world is unsettling for me in the western world.

However after reading interviews with Rudi (the author) where he talks of the experiences he had as a child I began to understand the complex feelings and the despair he felt at not just the Loss of Walt but perhaps the loss of his identity through the war.

I definitely enjoyed the book but I continued to imagine Jereon as much older than his tender years and that made it a far more pleasurable read for me!

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