This book was interesting, to say the least. It is divided into several chapters, each of which has its own distinctive flavor and style. It opens witThis book was interesting, to say the least. It is divided into several chapters, each of which has its own distinctive flavor and style. It opens with a story strongly based on the Gospels, followed by an old Christmas legend, then a sermon, then a war memoir, and finally by a Bible excerpt.
Parts of this volume are very preachy and almost off-putting. I do appreciate that this collection is from a very conservative family and parts of it are probably, to some degree, a product of the times. My least favorite part was the sermon, and this really surprised me--I have always been interested in theology, and I love Christmas. A Christmas sermon should have been right up my alley, so to speak. However, this sermon was so similar to so many that I've heard before, and it should win the prize, in my opinion, for being the only Christmas sermon I've ever encountered that isn't about Christmas. It's more about hell. Go figure.
That said, other parts of the book were delightful. The old Christmas legend was a bit of cultural history that I found fascinating, and the story was interesting in its own right, so that was a double win. Corrie's own memoir was powerful and moving, and the whole book would be worth it just for that chapter alone. It was also nice seeing her lightly fictionalized version of the Gospel story. The Bible excerpt was a beautiful close to a beautiful volume. Altogether, the book is marvelous. I borrowed this from the library, but if I ever find a copy for sale, I would buy it.
Since each chapter is a standalone, here are my separate ratings:
Part 1: The Bible story as Corrie told it (more like a story than direct quotes) 3.5 stars Part 2: An old Christmas story 5 stars Part 3: Sermon 2 stars Part 4: WWII 5 stars Part 5: Bible excerpt (I'm not rating the Bible (!) but I will say that it was a perfect close to a very special book)...more
Very well-written account of the Nazi regime and the cultures and peoples they devastated. This book is very informative; I'd never read a Holocaust aVery well-written account of the Nazi regime and the cultures and peoples they devastated. This book is very informative; I'd never read a Holocaust atlas before, and after seeing the many different types of information presented, I don't know why books like this aren't more common. I could see specific figures and statistics by country; I saw maps showing the locations of camps, ghettos, and uprisings; some maps showed the journeys of specific people, e.g. Anne Frank and Kitty Hart; some maps showed the popular routes followed by thousands trying to escape persecution. There were also many many photographs, sobering and horrifying. Everyone should read this book....more
This book is very well-written in terms of prose and character depth, but I was very disappointed by its plot. It seemed too contrived, too far-fetcheThis book is very well-written in terms of prose and character depth, but I was very disappointed by its plot. It seemed too contrived, too far-fetched, and far too unrealistic. There is a "twist" in the storyline which was, in my humble opinion, the best part of the whole novel, and perhaps only part that is both realistic and poignant. It was not, however, enough to redeem the book. This novel presents a chilling portrait of despair, horror, regret, and sorrow through its protagonist (and the writing is beautiful, too), but the mildly offensive, ever-so-slightly patronizing storyline gives me pause. I can certainly see how some people would love this book -- and it does do some things very well -- and I can see how some others might absolutely hate it. I think this might have been better as a short story or novella, not because it needs paring down, but because a short story's different format and focus could have underscored his well-developed characters and minimized his disappointingly contrived plot. ...more