Early November? Really, it's been that long since I posted on here? Come to think of it, I've been re-reading a lot of older books, so yeah, I guess it has been that long. So my first book of 2012 is Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I have to say, I feel completely out of the book world to have missed this one. You know when the book already has a movie out, that's on DVD, you've missed the boat. But nonetheless, here's my take.
I picked up this book yesterday with some Christmas money purely because it looked interesting. I hadn't heard about it before, kind of. Something about it looked familiar and I found out why later on in the day. I was chatting with my mom briefly and asked if she'd read it. She reminded me that I bought it for her for Christmas. It was one of the books on her Amazon wish list. Right, I felt a little sheepish there. I remembered getting her the book set in Russia (Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie) but forgot the other book I had picked off the list. She had had Sarah's Key recommended to her by a new friend in Toronto.
About the book. For those who, like myself and my mother are just discovering it for the first time. This is the story of Sarah, a little French girl taken in the 1942 Paris roundups of Jewish families, who were later sent to die at Auschwitz. Just as Sarah is about to be taken with her parents, she hides her little brother in a cupboard, locking it and promising to return for him. As she faces atrocity after atrocity it is her determination to free her little brother that keeps her going.
Intertwined with Sarah's story is the story of Julia, an American turned Parisian reporter uncovering the story of the Paris roundups for the 60th Anniversary Commemoration.
I know it is going to sound trite, but this book really is a page turner. It's a haunting tale that keeps you wondering what is going to happen next? What happened to Sarah? Will she make it? If you have a good chunk of time it is the kind of book that you can read in a day (or over an evening and a morning like I did). I just flew threw it. Sarah's story is one that will stay with me. Tatiana de Rosnay's writing is so lifelike, that you feel you are part of Sarah's life, and Julia's as well. At the end, I had to remind myself that they were just fictional characters. Though, Sarah's story is one that needed telling. It's a sad, sad reminder of a part of history that has mostly been ignored, swept away because it is from a shameful era. Thank goodness that de Rosnay has opened up the light onto those who suffered and died in France during the Second World War. May they no longer be forgotten.
I highly recommend this book to you. There is a book club guide at the end and it is a novel definitely worth reading and discussing. I'll be looking for the movie this week, I hope it holds up in comparison.