This book didn't turn out to be what I expected. For some reason I thought that this would be about how the animals at a zoo were cared for during WWIThis book didn't turn out to be what I expected. For some reason I thought that this would be about how the animals at a zoo were cared for during WWII. What it was instead was a history of the invasion of Poland and particularly the occupation of Warsaw. It was told mainly from the experiences of one family who had been the zookeepers before the war broke out, Jan and Antonina.
I thought that the author padded the story unnecessarily with overlong descriptions and lists of things that didn't have any bearing on the story. In addition, I was listening to this in the audiobook format, so that made skimming through the numerous lists and flowery descriptions a problem. For example, how many types of lampshades do you think they sell in a lampshade store in 1940? I can now tell you, and describe each facet of them in great detail. This is because Antonina stayed in the shop for a few days during the initial capture of Warsaw. This wasn't central to the story.
Many times as I was listening to this book I just kept thinking, get on with it already! Don't get me wrong, this is centrally a story about the horrors of war, and some of it's heroes who risked their own lives to save Jews. It's a noble story, it just needed a good editor.
I listened to this on audiobook format during part of the time that I was reading Doris Lessing’s, The Grass is Singing and contrast of climates was sI listened to this on audiobook format during part of the time that I was reading Doris Lessing’s, The Grass is Singing and contrast of climates was shocking. Going from the bitter Russian winter in and around Leningrad to the oppressive African heat of Zimbabwe sometimes took a little time to transition to mentally. Maybe I’ve read too much WWII fiction lately, but this book just left me a little (ahem) cold.
I liked the audiobook format narrated by Ron Perlman. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was good. The story, set during a week of the Nazi siege of Leningrad, was just a little bleak for me right now. The book centers around two ‘thieves’ who are ordered on a quest by a high-ranking German official who needs a dozen eggs so that his daughter can have cake at her wedding. 17-year-old Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. To avoid the prospect of execution, they set out find the dozen eggs. Their journey takes them through beleaguered, starving Leningrad and out into the frozen countryside surrounding Leningrad.
There was one particularly horrifying scene of torture (as least it was to me) that I would have skipped over had I been reading a printed copy of the book. As it was I listened to the whole thing. I’m sure it was in keeping with the types of things that were done during the war. I just wasn’t didn’t really want to listen to another atrocity. I’m giving this a 3 star rating, because the writing was good; the story moved along at a good pace; and liked the two main characters. But eventually the bleakness of the whole situation and the unfair turns life sometimes takes was just a bit much for my reading psyche at the moment. ...more
Like many others who have commented, I think that this could have done with some editing to tighten up the storyline. However, I did really enjoy theLike many others who have commented, I think that this could have done with some editing to tighten up the storyline. However, I did really enjoy the story, so I'm still giving it 4 stars. ...more
Interesting premise! The sections about the London bombings were so well written. I learned a lot about what it must have been like to live (or die) iInteresting premise! The sections about the London bombings were so well written. I learned a lot about what it must have been like to live (or die) in them during WWII....more
As much as I liked "Life of Pi" (and I REALLY liked that book, was about as much as I DISLIKED this book. It rambled on too long about the authors triAs much as I liked "Life of Pi" (and I REALLY liked that book, was about as much as I DISLIKED this book. It rambled on too long about the authors trials and tribulations encountered when trying to publish a second book after his first books was such a best-seller. (Autobiographical?)
Then it had too many weird devices, and a main character in the taxidermist that we knew nothing about. By the end of the book I was tired of reading lists, reading snippets of a play within the book, and being hit over the head with not too subtle Holocaust references.
This is a powerful story that grabbed me at the first page, and didn't let me go until the last page. I'm surprised it's classified as a Young Adult bThis is a powerful story that grabbed me at the first page, and didn't let me go until the last page. I'm surprised it's classified as a Young Adult book instead of Adult fiction because of the complexity of the story line. But hey, I haven't qulaified as a Young Adult reader for quite awhile, and the wider the audience this book gets, the better!
Death is the narrator of this story, and it's set in a suburb of Munich Germany during WWII. Liesel is the 'book thief' and the story revolves around her harsh experiences during the lead-up to and during the war.
The story is engrossing and harrowing. Each chapter has word images that will stay with me a long time. Foster parents, close neighbors, a Jew hidden in the basement all form a new family for the original one that Liesel loses in the opening pages of the story. The writing is just stunning, and the pace moves quickly.
I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to understand the toll WWII took everyday folks in Germany. There are villians and heros alike, just as there are in life. It was an amazing book!...more