Goodreads Summary:Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.
My rating:4/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve read my fair share of holocaust fiction- I was pretty much raised on it and though admittedly grade three is a little young to be reading such dark material it is a part of my people’s history and it’s a a topic that will always be close to my heart. While I definitely wish that there was less holocaust fiction and more fiction concerning Jews outside of this horrific event, I always like to come back to one of the genres that really shaped me as a reader. There’s so much that I still don’t know and with every book I read, I feel like I learn more and more. Sometimes I’m scared that I’ll get too desensitized but it’s actually the opposite- the more I read the more my heart hurts.
I had never heard of the woman that this story was based around,Dita Kraus,prior to this book and I’m really glad that I’ve learnt something new. I think it’s extraordinary that this is based off of real events, extraordinary to think of all the brave people.There’s so much that we don’t know about the Holocaust, so much that we may never know but with stories like these we get to know one more piece in the large puzzle. I think that books like these need to continue to be written but it has to be done right because so many books focus on the “good” nazis way more than we need to and as a Jew I don’t want hear about the good nazis. I understand that not every Nazi was some horrible soulless monster but it’s a narrative that I’m interested in, Fortunately while there was a side plot featuring a nice Nazi but it was very short and not a huge focus so while it slightly irked me it wasn’t that bad.
One thing that made the book slightly less enjoyable was the fact that it was translated. I always find translated novels to be a lot more difficult to read and I’m always questioning whether the writing style is bad because it’s translated or because that’s how it was in its native languages. While I think translated books are a great opportunity to expand the type of books I read, it still made it a little difficult to read and took me longer to read. While I did find it a little long, I also found that the ending was a little rushed. It kind of sounded more like an afterword as opposed to a work of fiction- obviously since it’s based off of real events and people, the details are going to be accurate but since it’s still a fictionalized recount I think that the style switch was odd. It finished so abruptly and could’ve been done much more seamlessly