I read books.

Those Who Save Us (Jenna Blum)

on October 24, 2011

Reopening book club in November with this offering:

This is an extremely well-crafted but disturbing first novel by Jenna Blum. It features a beautiful Aryan German girl who finds herself in a terrible moral dilemma: should she die at the hands of the blood-thirsty Nazis or do whatever it takes to save the life of herself and her half-Jewish daughter? Truly, what is a mother to do?

Anna’s own father is a part of the Fascist regime, and she only escapes his wrath because he is too shamed to confront her and leaves town when she turns up pregnant with a Jewish child. Taken in by the baker, Anna and her daughter Trudie find purpose in helping to smuggle food and messages to the prisoners next door at Buchenwald, the adjacent Nazi concentration camp. Anna hopes she is helping her baby’s father as she assists in this small way, but when they are discovered, she is confronted with a grave choice.

Blum provides graphic detail of the horrors Anna suffers at the hands of a Nazi officer, and it makes for very hard reading. Much of the story is developed as the daughter Trudy (no explanation for the spelling change) begins to research her own history while teaching at an American university.

Painful, poignant, powerful. Strong caution for graphic sexual violence and imagery. Recommended if you can handle it.


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