My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I mean how do you not give a book about The Holocaust 5 stars? Really. They’re always so devastating and emotional and make me want to curl up in a ball and cry thinking about the destruction done to innocent people’s lives.
Let me just stop and put something into perspective for a second. A study was published in 2018 that found that 66% of U.S. millennials and 41% of U.S. adults could not explain the significance of Auschwitz. That’s absolutely disgraceful. And if you’re part of that statistic, it’s really important that you pick up this book immediately and start reading. If you’re not part of that statistic, you should still pick it up because it’s a fantastic read.
But that sentiment aside, this book would have received 5 stars from me regardless of how I feel about the content. Because it was a beautiful story with extraordinary writing. While this is a work of historical fiction, it is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Jew who was interned at Auschwitz from 1942 to 1945. It tells of Lale’s experience as the the Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with marking his fellow prisoners. It tells of his survival but it also tells the story of how he fell in love with Gita, prisoner number 34902, and did everything he could to keep their spirits alive while withstanding unimaginable conditions.
I can’t rave enough about this book. If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to listen to the audibook. The narrator is fantastic and makes you feel as if you’re transported back to the 1940’s living through Lale’s life with him. Plus, there are several words that I know I would have mispronounced had I read instead of listened. At only a little over 7 hours, it’s a short audiobook and a quick listen.
Please give this book a try if you’re at all interested in historical fiction. It’s superb. While The Nightingale is still my favorite WWII story of all time, this is probably a close second.