The Blue Door is an exceptionally brave memoir from first-time author Lise Kristensen, describing her experiences in the Javanese prisoner of war camps during the Second World War and her determination to survive.
The Blue Door
The Blue Door
Reviewed by Emma Henaughan
What makes her story all the more admirable is that Lise was only nine when she was taken prisoner with her family by the Japanese Imperial Army. Whilst the child protagonist makes this book incredibly evocative, it is the very fact that you have to keep reminding yourself that you are reading an autobiography, not a work of fiction, that proves Kristensen’s tale to be truly humbling, heartbreaking and inspiring.
The most impressive characteristic of Kristensen’s writing is the way she manages to harness the language of her childhood self. The clean simplicity of the prose lends innocence to her descriptions whilst not demanding sympathy from the reader. Overall this is an easy book to read technically, if not emotionally.
As the Second World War moves further into history, this powerful biography not only sheds new light on the lesser told stories of victims in countries such as Java, but will also prove appealing to younger readers and is necessary reading if we are to continue learning from our mistakes for a better future. My only comment would be that the final chapter, summing up Lise’s later life is unnecessary. A second book would be more preferable.