Message in a Bottle by Valérie Zenatti


Title: Message in a Bottle
Author: Valérie Zenatti
Published: In UK, 2008 – originally published in France in 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 149 (excluding about author, title page, etc.)
RRP: £6.99

Message in a Bottle is…. enlightening. There really is no other way to describe it. The main character is a 17 year old girl called Tal Levine, who lives in Jerusalem. After a suicide bomb attack on her local (and NEARBY!) café, she decides to send a message in a bottle to Gaza, via her brother, Eytan, who goes to Gaza for kind of.. military communications or something every so often.

By doing this she hopes to communicate with a Palestinian, and by sharing their experiences they could come to an understanding – maybe become friends.

After two weeks, she receives a reply from someone under the pseudonym ofGazaman, and pretty much, it doesn’t head off to a good start. But Tal prevails, as being a positive and hopeful person (like her mother and father) and keeps sending emails to him.

I thought this book was BRILLIANT! I took this book from the library, but I thought it might be a bit short for a good novel, but the shortness made it so much more interesting! I want there to be a sequel so bad D: (there is a kind of… cliffhanger at the end)

About two/three chapters in she gets the reply, and from then it’s practically emails apart from perhaps three or four chapters.

This book is so amazing because it is an insight into the lives of two young people living in the most chaotic places of the world in this century – and having that fear 24/7 – and having to believe in only hope. And then there is corresponding with the enemy. Such a good idea, I think. Yet both of them are risking their lives, communicating.

The real good point about this book is that it is realistic, they both talk (because in some of the non-email chapters the point of views switches to Gazaman) about how no one can feel this pain, the fear, other than the Israelis and the Palestinians. Tal believes in hope – Gazaman is fuelled by anger towards Israelis.

I also thought, even though it didn’t go too indepth, Tal’s (and sometimes Gazamans) family lives were realistic and detailed – unlike some television programmes (and books) about the Middle East.

Rating – 4 Stars


This review was originally posted on my beanieOLOGY blog, but I posted it up here, seeing as it is a review ^^



2 responses to “Message in a Bottle by Valérie Zenatti

  1. I’ve seen this book around but I didn’t know anything about it. It sounds inspiring. Thank you very much for this wonderful review!

  2. Thanks for a good review of a great little book. I bought the book for my 11yr old daughter, but thought I should pre read it, as the characters are so much older. Suffice to say my husband was told to collect take out for dinner while I finished the book. It was a deeply touching read, and I spent ages online trying to figure out if there was an as-yet-not-translated sequel. It certainly is worthy of one.

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