Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Whoops. Everyone was asleep early tonight so I frittered away some time on the 'net and then dove in to my book. I only intended on reading a few pages, and it turned in to a hundred, midnight rolled by, and then... well. Here I sit.
This is a good story, not a great book, but an important story that needs to be told. I could tell you what worked for me, and what didn't work so well, and in a way, how rushed this book felt, especially towards the end, yet I think that would capture the book - I don't think this would stand up so well to a traditional English literature class deconstruction, but it doesn't have to. I am glad it is popular, because it means that people are remembering about events like this in the past, that tidbits of history are being unburied, remembered, and talked about it - this is important. Although the characters are fictional, the events described in this book were real.
This is a holocaust book that describes a little known event that took place in Paris, 1942, when French police round up mainly Jewish women and children. It is something that has been washed over with overlooked plaques and the forward motion of time. Stories like this, and even the Potato Peel Society... are important because they tell about events that are not part of mainstream consciousness.
I took a course on the Holocaust when I was in university, and it was the first time I had learned about it. This still strikes me as slightly unreal - I was a good student in high school, and although I did not take History 12, I just never knew. Hard to believe that this is a terrible piece of human history and it isn't always taught. I don't know what it is like now, 20 years later in our high schools, but...
I remember the books I read that fall, and it was a long, bleak fall. Those books and films have stayed with me - and I took that course back in 1995. It was profoundly sad to contemplate, and yet, within the horror, there are stories of triumph, of hope, of the human spirit - in the good and the evil. I took the course at a time of transformation in my own life, moving beyond one of my earlier selves and maturing a little, you know, into a mature 22 year old (laugh at self inserted here) that has just been to Europe for a summer holiday.
This book was decent. I would however recommend the following if you ever wanted to delve further in to this topic in terms of literature:
Schindler's List, Thomas Kinneally, yes the movie is good, and the book is really good
Sophie's Choice, William Styron
Night, Elie Wiesel
Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
Anne Frank, the Diary of a young girl
I have the Book Thief on my reading list, and I suspect at some point I may read the Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas, but I can't guarantee it (one of the gal's from my book club has talked about this one, sounds like a tear jerker).