Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Review: Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

My step-sister was the first in the family to read this book. She then recommended it to my mom, who read it, loved it, gave it to my grandmother, who loved it, and recommended it to me. I had tried to transfer it to my kindle from my mom's, but it didn't work because we aren't on the same account (by the way, I mention my kindle occasionally. I think it's great for traveling, but absolutely never use it at home, I simply love the feel of books way too much). Then I put it on my to-borrow from the library list, but never really made it there.

Anyway, I went to visit my grandparents in May and as I was going to bed Friday night, I saw the book on the bookshelf. I thought to myself, "I'll just read a few chapters before I go to bed and ask Nonny if I can borrow it in the morning". I don't know why I continue to believe that I can just read a few books of a fiction book and go to bed when experience clearly suggests otherwise. Sure, if it's a dry non-fiction, a few chapters and I'm read to go to sleep. But anything remotely interesting and I'm hooked. So at 3:00 AM, I closed the book after finishing it and finally went to sleep. Since I sped through it and couldn't put it down despite actually being really tired, I shouldn't have to say that this story was excellent.

It's historically accurate and does a really wonderful job of moving back and forth between the 1940's and present day characters in Paris, France. While certainly not the happiest of stories (it deals with a little-known round up of Jews in Paris under the Vichy regime), it does do a wonderful job of incorporating hope, the importance of our past and our ancestry, and remembering those who came before us. Also, there has been a lot of literature published about various experiences during the Holocaust (and for very good reason), but this story sheds light on story that has widely been forgotten. It avoids cliches and expresses emotions in a fresh, non-phony sort of way. I've read some remarkable books lately and this story certainly belongs in that category.

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