ages 15 and up
grades: 9-10 and up
years: 11 and up
on sale: now
copy from: public library
author: Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel
When I got this, and many of my other books that I've been reading, I found it in the classics section and checked it out. Many people have talked about how they had read this for school, and I do remember some English classes reading this at my school, but that didn't particularly affect my decision to read it.
I think this, like all Holocaust survival stories, is raw and emotional and somewhat detached, as if all were some horrid dream.
The book starts off with a brutally honest preface where Wiesel talks about his books, his reasons and his memories. "For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences" (Wiesel, xv)
The story starts off with a strange old homeless man called Moishe the Beedle, who taught Wiesel about God and religion. Elie wants to learn the Kabblah, a disciple derived from Judaism and Moishe teaches it to him. Throughout the story, Elie questions religion as he suffers. They lived in a fairly rural area called Sighet and in less than a few pages, the Holocast begins. At first, it's just news heard on a radio. No one believes it will come to them, they are safe. It's something I understand too: whenever there are hurricanes about to hit the east coast, my parents always reassure me. It's safe, we won't get hit. They've said it for every hurricane and have been right, so I've forgotten to feel fear about hurricanes now. But unluckily, the same doesn't follow for Wiesel and his family.
Stories like this do not need detailed descriptions or large, elaborate words. Wiesel's short words and honest account left me feeling haunted and sad. What I loved most was Elie's relationship with his father, and how they stuck together and how they cooperated. In the most darkest of times, it's comforting to have family.
The horrors of what happened are not...glorified. They are told as it happened, and that's just that. Sons killing fathers for a bit of bread, humans being killed for stealing a bit of soup, exhausted bodies being told to run for miles in freezing snow...But this isn't just an account of the Holocaust: it's a memoir of Wiesel as a young boy. I am amazed at how an older Wiesel wrote himself as a boy. I saw and heard an innocent boy and his mind working in the pages of this book. If I were to write about my childhood, I would have used big words and would have laughed at myself. But Wiesel succeeds in writing like the young boy he was and that's what makes this book incredibly real. The honesty, his views on humanity and the world forever altered and reading it as it happens...
Some part of me feels cruel for thinking that I enjoyed this book because the horrible events actually occurred Things like this are hard for someone to make up, are hard to believe and gruesome to imagine. The darker side of human nature...but all this is what made me love this book. The Holocaust was the darkest moment of modern history and I absolutely hope that people will learn more about what happened. This book receives for trees, and I would recommend it to teenagers and adults alike to read.