It’s Day 10 of social distancing and isolation because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. So of course, I have turned to books. Literature to me is not only a means of escape, but also a way in which I absorb and process things. I find reading extremely relaxing. However, having said that, a Holocaust book is perhaps not the most obvious of choices to pick up at a time like this.
I’d been wishing to read this copy I picked up for a while now. And I somewhat enjoyed it. The story is based on the true account of Dita Kraus – a Czech Jew who, along with her family, spent most of the Second World War in various concentration camps. She was a fiesty, spirited teenager, and ended up being the book ‘keeper’ of her block, hiding her treasure from the Germans, and using books as a means to learn and to escape.
The novel is a good read, but I felt that it was a hard one. There was something in the storytelling that made it a bit stilted. Of course, I haven’t read anything else by the author, Antonio Iturbe. So I find it hard to compare. But it took me a long time to get to the halfway point. The second half of the book is more exciting, the characters had grown on me and as a reader, I felt invested in their stories. This is not just another Holocaust book, because the weight of true experiences is heavy. Overall, I would recommend it for its honesty and its ability to shine a light on the indomitable human spirit. A good read in these trying times, hope you are all safe wherever you are…
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