Thirteen is my number by Alice Schmid Review

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The nine-year-old Lilly lives in the Swiss cup between Bern and Lucerne, which forms a natural border between Catholicism and Protestantism. Lilly is a bright girl, the exact least observed their environment, but mentally is almost ruined by their own problems. Why she sleeps at school again briefly one? Their nights are filled with nightmares, the brother Res she gets to the bathroom to be petted by her and her sister Dora demands it from her if she does not do it himself.

But in all these fraudulent activities is always the little sister morally bad – that’s why they cut the siblings and they acknowledge not look. If we at least her mother would love her or her father could break his silence, then she could trust them. Instead, they keep themselves, their injury secret: your quill pen with black ink was her hit so badly in the arm that it could be pulled out with difficulty. Now the wound inflamed getting worse.

Already the grandfather had died of blood poisoning; now threatens her the same fate?

Resistant lives Lilly in fear, especially in front of her mother. Which stands outside the front door when she comes home from school. Lilly does not dare to enter the threshold – and it happened. To 13 it counts then it is completely wetted; until it flows hot legs down, then it will be cold, and the mother beaten. If Lilly has arrived again at 13, she survived the ordeal. Then she hides under her rags tent, because eating there is of course nothing for them.

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Alice Schmidt in her novel “Thirteen my number” described a child’s life in the fifties, and these events are particularly insistently because Lilly tells himself. The style of language contributes significantly Swiss trains. Although a small glossary provides the reader with translations and aids to understanding, but still, some passages may not open up the North German readers immediately. Simple declarative sentences are the child’s language close, but Lilly’s reflections, which are conceptually and syntactically complex, can a child hard to formulate their age; So here the author takes a helping and raises the novel – the little break in style hinnehmend -. about the limitations of the children’s levels of time

So we look into an archaic world. In the barren, rugged area people live full poverty and cut off from civilization. Sometimes a bus before, brings its driver material for the homework of women. With agriculture alone the fathers can not feed their families, they alongside working as Köhler or distiller. Lilly and her friends entrust their concerns and needs of a lime tree. Here Lilly hears terrible confessions. The pastor, the children will find no help – on the contrary, with his bigoted morality, his warnings of superstition and spirits, he increased yet their fear. At home, Lilly is regarded as a liar and a thief; while it was her sister who had given to a stranger, the hard-earned money. But she knows Lilly’s secret, and so must Lilly again silent and endure the beatings. Your heart is black, says mother; because only prayer can help.

Lilly is a completely distraught child. Exploited and sealed off, they only suspect that in their environment much does not match that but she can not bear all the blame alone. The bad guys are rather the adults who treat their children like dirt and, as the passive, silent father, beware cruel secrets. In order not to fall into madness and not to lose her soul, Lilly seals off in her tent and refuge in their dreams. The number 13, for all other an unlucky number, gives her support and helps her to endure all the pain.

This is a regional novel far away from each idyll of intoxicating “Schwyzer” mountains. “Heidi,” which romanticized echo of my childhood, sounds anywhere. The book leaves the reader sad. Lilly has grown fond of, but their suffering has to watch helplessly.

For “Thirteen my number” received Alice Schmid in 2010 the main prize of the Central Swiss literature promotion.

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Thirteen is my number by Alice Schmid Review. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

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