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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Against the Odds
by Marjolijn Hof
Age Range: 12+
Narrator Kiki's father is a doctor who is always putting himself in danger by embarking on humanitarian missions to dangerous war zones. This makes Kiki nervous and frightened. She knows it isn't a good idea but no matter how hard she tries, Kiki can't persuade him not to go.
Kiki’s mother tries to reassure her by explaining the theory of odds - “For instance, the odds that you'll become a millionaire are very, very small. The odds that you'll find a coin in the street are a lot bigger. And it's the same thing with fathers. The odds of having a father are big, and the odds of not having a father are small. So you don't have to worry too much about not having a father.”
Kiki still remains unconvinced. When her father is reported missing and her mother becomes increasingly distraught, Kiki decides she has to try and improve the odds of her father coming home.
Against the Odds is a powerful, perceptive and thought provoking novel by Dutch author Marjolin Hof. Hof's writing is direct; she spares the reader nothing. It is both sad, funny and questioning of moral issues such as whether someone should be considered a selfless hero for going to war or a selfish person for leaving their family and what to do when something you've always feared becomes all too real.