An account of a British POW, held in a labour camp near Auschwitz. Admittedly I thought the focus of the book would be far more heavily focused on AusAn account of a British POW, held in a labour camp near Auschwitz. Admittedly I thought the focus of the book would be far more heavily focused on Auschwitz itself, and initially reading through a fairly hefty amount of pages on Denis' previous life made me wonder how the book would progress.
However after finishing the book, having the entire story and context really bought the memoir to the point where you felt the emotion and content hit home. Even now, I struggle to believe that such inhumane acts could possibly have happened. A stark reminder of how awful World War II was - not only for the millions of Jewish people that perished, but also for the thousands of POW occupants across Europe that after this book, I feel have had little recognition until late about the traumas they experienced. Each had their own battle, and this story highlighted that.
Without spoiling the book, the last parts of the book were an uncomfortable yet humbling reminder of why we should remember this event. If not a wonderful way of ending the novel - I say this not out of "liking" the end, but I felt it was a very fortunate and fitting way of piecing together the story that Denis recalls. This book really pushes you to consider that all the people involved were individuals, with stories and struggles that should never have had to be re-told. ...more
Considering I bought this book on a bit of a whim, it was quite a decent read. The narrative was light and easy going, with enough humour and drama toConsidering I bought this book on a bit of a whim, it was quite a decent read. The narrative was light and easy going, with enough humour and drama to keep me reading. The characters were interesting - if not slightly unrealistic. But however hard I tried, I found it practically impossible to properly warm to any of the characters as none of them struck me as entirely likeable (but I suspect that's due to the fact that I didn't find them believable enough).
I also thought the ending and certain parts of the plot with Nora were wrapped up far too conveniently, and again, unrealistically. The ending was disappointing and felt rushed, which was a shame as I think a better ending would have definitely improved my view on the book.
Overall, an enjoyable read - probably wouldn't read again in a hurry, but worth a look....more
The version of the book I had contained the stories of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and "The Diamond as Big as the RThe version of the book I had contained the stories of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz".
I wasn't bowled over by any of the stories particularly, but they were a nice easy read all the same. They were quirky and interesting enough to stand up on their merits, but I felt they could have been developed a little more. I also don't think I was overly taken with the writing style, as there was something I felt slightly detached from - I couldn't feel myself connecting with the style of writing.
But as I said, still a nice easy read - good for something if you have a spare hour but don't want anything too heavy to read....more
Was given this book by a friend, and I'd never heard of it before. It was only when I noticed the trailers for the film (although I didn't watch themWas given this book by a friend, and I'd never heard of it before. It was only when I noticed the trailers for the film (although I didn't watch them as I didn't want to spoil the book!) that I began to read it.
It's been a long time since I've read a book that for the first 70 pages or so, I had no idea what was going on. But not in the bad kind of way where I couldn't understand what was written - purely in a "where is this story going!" way. Yet to give credit to the book, I didn't get bored or fed up as I might usually with an ambigious plot. I kept reading as I just had to know what was behind the thorough back-history we were being given, and the book had enough "teasers" to keep you following the story.
Overall I really liked it. It was touching, yet haunting. The concept bothered me by making me uncomfortable thinking about it, and was definitely worse having followed the story through and connected with the characters on an emotional level. Interesting idea. ...more
I borrowed this book to use in my uni work, and I loved it. Not a book full of textual reading as the majority was imagery, but the text parts provideI borrowed this book to use in my uni work, and I loved it. Not a book full of textual reading as the majority was imagery, but the text parts provided some lovely insights into the designers works and the techniques/genres on show. The images are stunning and I was spoilt for choice for material to use. I couldn't put the book down once I'd started reading as I was constantly scanning the pages in appreciation of the poster designs. Brilliant collection....more
Alone in Berlin is based on the real life events of Otto and Elise Hampel, individual resistance fighters against the Nazi reign. The characters of OtAlone in Berlin is based on the real life events of Otto and Elise Hampel, individual resistance fighters against the Nazi reign. The characters of Otto and Anna are based on Otto and Elise and whilst the story is fictional, many of the elements you find out from the afterword are based on real happenings.
I was struck by how psychological the book was - the fear, paranoia and constant vigilance of everyday German citizens is felt strongly with the introduction and viewpoint of each character. I've read other books about life in Germany in WWII, but this book made me realise that I'd forgotten how life wasn't smooth under the Nazi reign in Germany for the German citizens. It was interesting to see another take on life in Berlin, but it chilled me quite a lot.
Although the nature of the SS and Nazi police sectors is known to me through history lessons and other books, there was something still quite shocking reading the way they liked to play about with their suspects and prisoners - many of which were the characters in this book incidentally. Their suspects didn't stand a chance under questionning and couldn't win either way - they were either forced to admit what they knew or forced to sign incorrect confessions.
The courage of Otto and Anna during all of this was remarkable, and their act of resistance was commendable but frightening - every time a new postcard was dropped, you felt the panic of the character to hope they hadn't been seen. As a two person unit they stood up for their beliefs and morals and it was refreshing to see that not all German people believed the word of the Fuhrer and his ideologies.
The plot also involves acts of kindness from other characters, which warms the book and restores some faith in how bad life had got. But at the same time other acts of desperation from characters such as Emil Borkhausen and Enno Kluge changes your view again. There's so much happening in the book with different plots (which all come together) that you go through different emotions and reflections.
This was translated from the original German text, but is still incredibly well written. The short chapters marking new viewpoints and timescales work well, and it's clear what is happening at each point in the story.
The book was a gripping read - I didn't want to put the book down as I wanted to know what happened next to the characters I'd become attached to. I had a version with the Afterword and original documents for Otto and Elise in the back, both are worth a read. If anything it makes it harder to believe that any of this can be "real" in the modern world....more
This is the first Jodi Picoult book I've read. It was recommended to me by friends and family, but it took me a long time to bring myself to pick it uThis is the first Jodi Picoult book I've read. It was recommended to me by friends and family, but it took me a long time to bring myself to pick it up to read - the synopsis of the book didn't appeal to me at first.
After reading the book, I decided I liked it. I didn't love it but at the same time didn't dislike it. It's one of those books I'm glad I've read but probably wouldn't read again in the future.
The character of Sara I found hard to like. In all honesty, I found her to be selfish and cold and struggled with the concept of her parenting. It wasn't until the trial itself that I began to warm to her minutely, but that was because it was possibly the only point where I felt reason to empathise with her - I could see reasons why I could possibly empathise with her earlier on, but only felt that I should empathise with her at this point.
I tried at several points to imagine what I'd do in the same scenario, and it was hard. The perspectives from all characters involved made it an interesting read, and showed the way such a horrific predicament can affect a family in different ways. There was no easy or clear "right or wrong" answer to what any of them should do, and morally and ethically it raised some interesting debates.
Kate, Anna and Jesse were strong in their own ways and I enjoyed the way they'd been portrayed - I thought it was lovely to see Kate being able to experience some brief normality to her life through meeting Taylor, and I found those parts of the book to be quite touching in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on. Anna too was refreshingly straight with her feelings - she clearly loved Kate but was also tired of the constant demands placed upon her, and yearning for a normal teenage life.
The ending was almost cruel in a sense - another blow for the parents, and an unexpected one at that. It was a shame that it was the way the story had to end, but it did make me think about the way life can take it's unexpected turns - life is too short sometimes.
Overall it was an interesting read, just occasionally a bit long winded and repetitive. But touching and thought provoking all the same.
This book was lent to me by a friend on recommendation. We'd been discussing the book "The Time Traveller's Wife" and she mentionned I might like thisThis book was lent to me by a friend on recommendation. We'd been discussing the book "The Time Traveller's Wife" and she mentionned I might like this book as a result.
Reading the synopsis I didn't know how to interpret the part about "he is faced with a choice - between life and death, the past and the present, holding on and letting go". I guessed the story might have a quirky point of view or twist to the plot, but was a little bit worried that the book may go out on a far-fetched angle.
This soon became fairly apparent in the book. Without giving too much away, I was reminded of The Lovely Bones and The Time Traveller's Wife with the way the book flicked from various perspectives. The plot was an interesting idea but I personally felt the love story element wasn't very "real" and was actually quite dull and predictable. Considering the love story was the majority of the book, it didn't bode well.
I also didn't enjoy the more or less constant reminder of the spiritual and religious side of things. I realise the book is about life and death, so this fits with the category, but... well, there was something about it that didn't sit easily with me in terms of the beliefs being voiced and then what happens afterwards. It just seemed a bit unnecessary in places.
I didn't warm to any of the characters which I felt a bit disappointed about. I found both Charlie and Tess to be a little bit wooden and strange. I felt like I knew nothing about them by the end of the book - we were given details about their lives and hobbies, yet the surface detail didn't allow me to get under the skin of them. The story had quite a sad element to it which I appreciated, but with the lack of being able to connect with the characters, I felt I couldn't really empathise with them - I only really empathised with their families and imagining the scenarios in real-life.
Alright for a quick and easy read. But I wouldn't want to read it again. ...more