Publication Date: September 2013
Formats: eBook, Paperback
186 PagesI thought this was a very enjoyable read. It's short, can be read in one nice lazy day. And that's not a bad thing. I get tired of door stops. Its shortness, however, does not detract from the importance of the moral it imparts, nor does it take away from the seriousness of the history within. The writing is also stellar, balancing historical facts with an engrossing story, ensuring that you won't soon forget the history you're learning.
The moral is...that being a silent bystander is just as bad as being a perpetrator.
In this novel, we meet Sophie in 1938 Germany. She's in the Hitler Youth and she likes photography, just like her father. But whereas she used to be proud to be German, lately she's witnessing propaganda that has not feeling so proud. And when she contracts polio, the reality begins to hit much closer to home. They've gotten rid of the Jews. They've gotten rid of the church. How soon before they come and get rid of the "useless mouths"?
Sophie's family winds up in trouble and Sophie is faced with a difficult choice: run and hide, or expose the truth?
I really enjoyed reading about Sophie's battle both with her feelings and her polio. Her time in the hospital was both sad and inspiring. The author gives us an intriguing cast of characters--both adults and pre-teens. There are the confused German Youth, the mean, the silent, the helpful, the scared. The girl in the hospital doing ballet with her crutch...touched something in me. There's something for everyone in this story. While I'd suggest it be offered in every middle-school library, I also think adults will be just as moved by it all. I was.
My only complaint--and I realize there's a sequel--is the unconcluded ending. I'm not a fan of having to wait a year or so to find out what happens next. I think with how short this was that it and its sequel should have been one novel.