Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Those Who Save Us was not easy to read, but it was worth it. It's two stories, told in alternating sections, one about a young German woman living in Weimar during World War II and the other about her daughter 50 years later who's trying to figure out her past because her mother has never talked about it. It's hard to read because of the sometimes graphic war stories, not all of them about violence against Jews. Most of them aren't even violent; they're sexual, but they're still war stories. (That's my warning.)

It's also hard to read because the characters are so complex. There are no easy answers to why they make the decisions they make, but I think that's what makes this book outstanding. The answers aren't easy, but they're realistic and believable. After I finished the book, I dreamed about it all night and then told Jon all about it and why it was bothering me. His comment was "Life is messy." This book really captures that.

Our book club had a great discussion about it, too. It's a different perspective on World War II, and there's a lot to talk about. (See warning above, however! Having said that, I'm glad I read it.)

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