Rated of 5
by Lynne Hersh
Amanda Hodgkinson has written a gem of a book! Her use of language compels the reader to continue to actively think while reading the story. What evils did the characters witness during the war? Why are they so reluctant to speak of the experiences that have so changed them? The stories unfold as the characters tell the backstories interspersed with their current story. By reading critically readers will pick up the discreet foreshadowing of events. Voice and place change often so the reader must pay attention to the chapter titles. The depth of each character is revealed and readers will get to know them intimately. Some are more likeable than others but who is really a "bad" person is between the reader and the text. I could make a case on both sides of the discussion for most of the book's characters. This book would be a fantastic choice for a book club and it will produce a lively discussion. There are many rich talking points.
I really like that this a WWII story without it being a Holocaust survivor story. There are many victims during wartime and while WWII literature is so rich with important and necessary Holocaust memoirs it is refreashing to have a tale which provides fodder for readers to understand the many victims of this war.
The themes have elements that I found comparable to the themes in the wonderful book Room; isolation, survival, nature vs. nurture. As universal as themes are in literature these are two very different stories of survival with a young child and those themes resonate in both books.