Breaking Stalin's Nose

Breaking Stalin's Nose
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 27, 2011
ISBN
978-0805092165
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Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six:

The Young Pioneer is devoted to Comrade Stalin, the Communist Party, and Communism.
A Young Pioneer is a reliable comrade and always acts according to conscience.
A Young Pioneer has a right to criticize shortcomings.

But now that it is finally time to join the Young Pioneers, the day Sasha has awaited for so long, everything seems to go awry. He breaks a classmate's glasses with a snowball. He accidentally damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway. And worst of all, his father, the best Communist he knows, was arrested just last night.

This moving story of a ten-year-old boy's world shattering is masterful in its simplicity, powerful in its message, and heartbreaking in its plausibility.

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Breaking Stalin’s Nose: a novel of a young boy and the lies of Stalin-era Communism
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Sasha Zaichik, the protagonist in this short novel, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, by Eugene Yelchin, is less a hero than an innocent victim, for what else can you call a ten-year old who’s been brought up with nothing but lies in a cynical, totalitarian state that maintains itself through fear and terror.

At first glance Yelchin’s novel looks like a book for children, but don’t be fooled—it carries a message that resonates with readers of all ages. I’m talking about the human toll of Stalin-era Communism in the Soviet Union, but it could apply to any dictatorial government or ideology, past or present. Think Nazi Germany, Maoist China, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, the Taliban, etc.

During a 24 hour time span we, the readers, come to see the lies and fear of this era through the innocent eyes of this idealistic young boy. The rotten foundation the structure is built on is exposed and put on display as Sasha experiences the disintegration of his whole world and can’t quite comprehend what happened. Most adults will finish this book in about an hour, which includes viewing the many illustrations.
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