In the beginning I was drawn by the historical background of the story. Sadly, like the majority of ficti...moreThere is a reason that I stick w non-fiction.
In the beginning I was drawn by the historical background of the story. Sadly, like the majority of fiction that I came across, Sarah's Key struggles w a thin plot & lack of supporting details. Most importantly, the supposed train of thoughts of ten year old Sarah struck me as unrealistic. This is just from someone who's been a kid once.
Probably read up to p.222, a real drag by that pt.(less)
“Time’s winged chariot is coming near followed closely by the Hounds of Heaven. You’re getting older … … little old Mr. Chips, toiling the stairs of h...more“Time’s winged chariot is coming near followed closely by the Hounds of Heaven. You’re getting older … … little old Mr. Chips, toiling the stairs of his tenement, a crust in the cupboard, a jorum of water in the ice box, a bulb of modest wattage dangling over the celibate cot.”
Snappy! I like it.
And so it is, a fine read. I gave it to my Irish teacher as a gift.(less)
Narrator had Americanized English accent so it sounded fake at first (at least they didn't use an old lady with a deep voice to playact an 11-yr old)!...moreNarrator had Americanized English accent so it sounded fake at first (at least they didn't use an old lady with a deep voice to playact an 11-yr old)! I found her tone snarky in the first chapters -- trying too hard (!) & i almost quit. But it found instant improvement after she lost her attitude.
No doubt our protagonist makes a nasty little sister. In the author's attempt to charm us, she names her bicycle in an Emma -esque kind of way, & treats "her" (Gladys) like an imaginary friend. Generally the flow is better whenever Flavia is not talking to herself, except maybe around ch. 21 when she describes a nursing home visit (i LUV it).
This bk introduced the world of stamp collecting to me, the plot was well planned. Poison (the real one as well as Flavia's own mucking about), murder, and a lonely 11 yr-old bringing us into the thick & thin on her heels.
By Chapters 12-17, things finally moved along at a faster clip. i especially liked the lively similes here! And Ch. 15 gave away the "prestige" of a traditional levitation magic trick. i might like it enough to perhaps read the book "visually" in these chapters.
Clearly the author did his research. For example, Flavia said she turned on the wireless (it meant a radio in the 50's) & i didn't know what she meant until i watched "The Hour", a suspenseful TV series covering 1956-7 at BBC during the time of the Suez Crisis. (less)
Why don't i like it? I thought the narrator in the audio version carried a pompous attitude at times. But it wasn't quite it, then may be it was liste...moreWhy don't i like it? I thought the narrator in the audio version carried a pompous attitude at times. But it wasn't quite it, then may be it was listening to a grandma read the autobio of a 10-14 yr old? Nope, that wasn't all, either. Finally I got it: it was her lackluster writing.
This is the memoir of a Jewish girl who got deported along with her wealthy family from Poland to Siberia in a cattle car. I thought i would learn something about the Siberian landscape and local life thru her story but there was little of it that was interesting. Mostly she painted people she met as one-dimensional caricatures -- everyone nice to them was a good person and anyone who's ever mean to them was a bad guy, and each one of her family member was a model citizen beyond reproach. As much as the story of Jewish deportation was an important one to tell she is not a likable memoirist b/c of how self-centered this piece of writing is. There is no mention/observation of anyone else's feelings/needs except those of her own clan. And her mother's pride? I believe that's what the Chinese called an extreme case of face.
To be fair, i learned a few tidbits: 1. the inhumane treatment of German POWs, distributing the loot from robbing the Germans back ...
2. Anti-semitic sentiments of the Polish ppl toward home-coming Jews immediately after WWII. i wonder about the course of change in this attitude over the next 60+ yrs ...
3. where is Siberia? Somewhere between Moscow and the Aleutian Islands
Twin biographies from a pr of Jewish brother & sister (13 & 3 year olds) who fled the Nazis of Europe aboard a cruise ship with their parents...moreTwin biographies from a pr of Jewish brother & sister (13 & 3 year olds) who fled the Nazis of Europe aboard a cruise ship with their parents in the fall of 1939. Unexpectedly, they arrived in Shanghai, China & found an enclave of Jewish settlement (established since the 20's and 30's by Russian Jews, ref p.51).
I love the young voices of this memoir(s), especially that of the teenage brother. Despite their circumstances his read on life was full of adventure & wonderment.
In 2008, a 12 year old girl from India and a 12 year old boy from Kentucky became pen pals ...
----- On an unrelated note, there was a true crime-myster...moreIn 2008, a 12 year old girl from India and a 12 year old boy from Kentucky became pen pals ...
----- On an unrelated note, there was a true crime-mystery in 2009 Kentucky. This article gave an one-page portrait of Clay County that is little known outside of the American South. It began with, "The history of Clay County is soaked in blood".
"Communities .. built along a dead-end road tucked into a wooded valley, are known as hollows—pronounced “hollers.” Clay County is full of hollows, and nearly everybody seems to have a story about wandering into one and ending up staring down the barrel of a rifle. Some describe the way of life in the hollows as little changed over the past couple centuries.
.. put it this way: “Once you go east of I-75,” “there’s two things they don’t like: change and strangers.”"
"Religion is woven deeply into the social fabric in these parts. Clay County has no movie theaters and only a handful of bars, but more than 100 churches."