Ok, so I’m a little bit in love with this book. Having visited Auschwitz and Birkenau when I was a bit younger, its easy to begin placing this story in the actual place, thinking of the blocks, the cramped beds and the sheer cold (I went in February time, it was a feel-like temperature of minus 20°C…)
Having read the book in it’s entirety, from cover to cover, you can see how it has been adapted from screenplay to novel – it’s still very screenplay-esque (just making up words here…) but the way Heather Morris is able to capture Lale’s story is truly beautiful. The horrors of Auschwitz is something that most people learn in History classes, and all you can begin to do is try and imagine what these people went through and what some of them still live with. The book is a way of allowing people to connect to what they assume as characters, but turn out to being very real people.
The book itself challenges the way we perceive the Holocaust – it does not romanticise it in any way, despite one of the many storylines being the development of Lale and Gita’s relationship. It’s brutal and honest, displaying how people were trying to make the ‘right’ decision in order to survive. There were absolute horrors and the book does not try to hide this in any way at all. It’s clear, open and paints a picture of what was actually happening in these concentration camp. After reading this book, it allows you to see the camps in a different set of eyes, considering the horror through their eyes. By doing so, it makes it ever more real for people who were born 50 years later.
I really enjoyed the book and found it easy to read – it was a hook, line and sinker situation, so after 3 sittings, that was it. I’ve already lent my copy to 3 people and they all find it to be exquisite in its own little way. If you’ve read the book, let me know in the comments what you thought of it! And if you have any recommendations as to what I should read next, let me know.