ALL BUT MY LIFE recounts the story of Gerda Weissmann, a young woman forced into slave labor for the Nazis during the Holocaust. Stripped from her fatALL BUT MY LIFE recounts the story of Gerda Weissmann, a young woman forced into slave labor for the Nazis during the Holocaust. Stripped from her father, mother, and brother, Gerda must endure cruel working conditions, little to no food, and harsh weather as she fights for survival during Nazi Germany in the 1940s. Gerda promised her father that she wouldn’t give up and with her mother’s last words of “Be Strong”, young Gerda keeps going, even when there is no hope left.
The book is divided into three parts. In Part One, we learn of Gerda and her immediate family before the war and during the beginning of the war. They are a family of pure strength and love. I was struck by the intense closeness of her family and cried when they were ripped apart.
In Part Two, we relive Gerda’s experiences during her time in the Nazi labor camps, being shuttled from one camp to the next, some better than others. The friendships Gerda is able to make with other girls at camp are heartwarming, yet heart wrenching. How hard it must be to become close to someone who may not be there the next minute, hour, or day? The decisions Gerda makes throughout this period are, at times, unbelievable, yet she survived. I have no doubt that she was meant to live to tell her story and that of her family and friends. What if Gerda had made a different decision at a crucial crossroads?
Finally, in Part Three, we are told of Gerda’s life after she was liberated by Lt. Kurt Klein, who becomes her husband. What an incredible love story.
This is a book of inspiration, faith, and hope. It will definitely make one think of problems in a new light. If the human spirit can endure what Gerda did, then we all can survive what is thrown at us, even when it seems like we cannot.
I whole-heartedly recommend this book to everyone. It’s phenomenal. I cannot praise it enough. Although it is not an easy book to read, the message it sends is one of hope and strength. We can all survive, we can all make it. Thank you for telling us your story, Mrs. Klein. It is not one I will ever forget. 5+ stars!
I wasn't sure what to think when I cracked open this book! The story is told in comic book style, with illustrations and thought bubbles! I have neverI wasn't sure what to think when I cracked open this book! The story is told in comic book style, with illustrations and thought bubbles! I have never read a graphic novel and I wasn't sure if I would like the style in which the book was written. I have to say - I just closed the book after finishing it in less than 24 hours and I am extremely impressed with how the author, Laurie Sandell, put this story together. This style works extremely well for this story and I am so happy I read it! Because of all the illustrations, the book reads very quickly, so it's possible to finish it in one sitting. Don't be put off by the illustrations, though - the story itself is engaging and thought-provoking. The only caution I give is this. There are comic illustrations of nudity, so just be careful where you are reading this book!!
Laurie Sandell grew up in awe of her father and all of his mesmerizing stories. As she gets older, she begins to question her father and learns that he is not who he says he is. As Laurie digs deeper into her father's life, she struggles to learn who she really is along the way. This is a coming-of-age story that will keep you quickly turning the pages to see what will happen next! Definitely recommended! ...more