Peer Review by Jeremy Houle (United States)

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One's Past May Save One's Future

By: MRod1019


    “Grandpa Grandpa can you tell me how during the Holocaust you fled from Denmark to Sweden.” Oh Jimmy, if only he knew all that I went through.
    “Well Jimmy that is a very long story. Let’s start simple. Do you know what the holocaust is?”
    “Of course it was when the Nazis captured tortured and killed millions of Jews like us.” Said Jimmy.
    “Now Jimmy I was one of those Jews that were captured. I can remember the whole thing as though it were yesterday. The only reason I lived and we are here today is because of an unexpected friendship.”

As a black man I have not had it easy and never mind that it is 1943 and I am a Jew. Everyday I walk outside of my house and have to travel in the shadows so that I am not caught and sent to a concentration camp. One day I set out to get some milk and I wasn’t careful enough. I was turning the last corner on my way back to my house when three Nazi soldiers saw me. Just as I was about to make a run for the house I get hit on the head and black out.
    “I can’t wait till we get all of them.”
    “Yeah those dirty Jews stealing from us, they deserve to pay for what they have done Hitler will live for ever. Albie what do you think?
    “Uhm yeah those dirty Jews.”
    As I slowly regained consciousness I have in a truck with three men and I knew that the last one was not proud of his actions.
The truck came to a stop and I could see the sunlight piercing through the holes of the cloth ceiling. The men opened the doors and I was in a somewhere far from home. I looked down to see my hands and feet were handcuffed together. This was like a prison with four towers in each corner and the whole thing was surrounded by electrical fence. I had no means of escape and all hope was last so all I did was follow orders.
    The sad guard -- Albie I think it was, began walking me to my cell. He looked gloomy and did not look want to be hurting us. He did not say a word to me until I got to my cell when he handed me a set of keys and said “At twelve leave and meet me at the trucks.” I was in shock here this white Nazi was risking his life for a black Jew, but I was still able to hide the keys. I felt trapped in this cube of concrete. The other side of those bars represented my freedom and time was the only thing standing between me and it. As I sat in my cage of solitude waiting for time to pass I began to think. It was strange because I could have sworn that Albie looked familiar. I was pensive for a long time until I realized that Albie went to the same school as me. He would get picked on until one day I stood up for him. We began to hang out together and became good friends until he moved away and I never thought I would see him again. As I looked through my cage bars I could see that on a clock far away I could that I was twelve so I opened the door and set out quietly towards the trucks. I could see them at the end of the hall, and as I got closer I could make out Albie waiting by one of the truck, but this one was once I reached him I noticed all the other trucks’ tiers had been popped. He told me that he was thankful for all that I did for him when we were growing up and that this was to repay me. He told there was a rebel base in Skagen and that they could get me to safety, so I got in the truck but he didn’t so I asked why and he said “You will need someone to hold them off, just as you freed me from oppressive bullying I shall free you from yours. Now go!” I began crying as I left and heard gunshots.
    It took me two days to reach Skagen and once I got there the rebels put hid me until they could smuggle me on a boat to Sweden. In Sweden I began a new life and met a wonderful woman, and  started a family.

    “Wow Grandpa David you went through a lot to get here”
    “Yes Jimmy It was very difficult but now that is all behind me except for Albie. I will never forget his last words. just as you freed me from oppressive bullying I shall free you from yours.” All because of that one day I decided to make a new friend I am alive with a family today.


Peer Review

I liked this piece because it is a great idea for the Friendship Narrative and has a lot of potential.


Being captured is pretty intense, and a secret ally is pretty complex. I feel that if this piece were re-written using more descriptive adjectives it would really POP in the reader's mind.


This friendship is very interesting and certainly surprising. If a little bit more backstory was put in the reader would feel more attached to this piece.


Great idea for friendship narrative competition! I know I put a lot of comments in and it looks overwhelming, but don't worry- it should not be too hard to edit. I think this piece has a really good plot line that I think could really stand out if these three main things were improved:
1. Character Dialogue
2. Historical Accuracy
3. Overall Grammar

If these three points were done, this piece would be a great read.


Reviewer Comments

I think that you should try to get as many of the suggested edits done as possible before the deadline, but if you don't have the time to take a quick peak at each of my comments then I would at least suggest making the following quick fixes:

Perhaps change the grandson's name to something a little more Jewish, or at least not something so grandson-y as Jimmy.

Try to improve historical accuracy for better reader engagement.

Try to improve dialogue to be more realistic and not so sticky feeling.

For a little extra pop in your piece, consider adding some German into the dialogue!!!

Good luck in the competition! I know the edits look like a lot of work, but don't worry! It won't take long and the end result will be awesome! Keep going!