I got sucked into this one. I started at 1 a.m., intending to read for about an hour to make myself fall asleep. How very false. Three hours later, I...moreI got sucked into this one. I started at 1 a.m., intending to read for about an hour to make myself fall asleep. How very false. Three hours later, I just closed the last page and had to stop myself from choking up with tears. What a mesmerizing, endearing tale, of a boy who lost his mother but found strength through his love of books. Most certainly a quick read, but I am so grateful that I took the time to read this. 4.5 stars would be my rating, but 4 will have to do. I have missed books like this.
I also would venture to say it could be cast into the young adult genre, so if you're looking for a challenging, mind-bending read, you'll not find it here so much. However, if you are looking for a charmer that will wrap you up for a rainy afternoon and a cup of tea (or the wee hours of the morning), this for sure will be a book I recommend. What is the fancy name for it? A buldingsroman? Exactly. A come-of-age tale that wraps up all your favorite fairy tales, Communist dwarves, and a little bit of Hilter thrown in for the World War II fan. It sort of reminds me of the film Pan's Labyrinth, actually, only told from the perspective of a lonely British boy who probably could use a little more imagination in his life - just like the rest of us readers, and Connolly delivers to the fullest.(less)
Lately, I have been attracted to the dark, macabre books of my library. This book certainly filled both of those qualifications, along with "extremely...moreLately, I have been attracted to the dark, macabre books of my library. This book certainly filled both of those qualifications, along with "extremely disturbing" and "books that make me cry." (Come to think of it, that last one should be a new shelf, since crying at the end of the book is something I have been doing a lot lately.)
This book is not for the faint of heart. Hansel and Gretel, although young and innocent, are possibly the most delicate yet wisest characters I have come across in many readings. However, some of the terrible, tragic circumstances they are forced to endure are so vivid that I physically squirmed. (I'm one of those people who can't stand the thought of having blood drawn. That is exactly how I felt during some events of this book - unfortunate for me but a compliment to the author for making me truly *feel* these horrors.)
I was captivated by Murphy's writing style: vivid and eloquent, yet traumatizing at all the right moments. I was very impressed with how she described World War II horrors without being unnecessarily gory or crass. The scenes still carried the right balance of emotion, and I was captivated by so many of the characters - whether they were victims or antagonists. This book left me so emotionally worn, yet I am genuinely glad I took the time to read it. Not only was it a quality piece, but it left me eager to read more of Murphy's work, to better understand Nazi occupation of Poland, and to seek out more texts in this era - not to mention I was completely satisfied with the story's telling. The only thing that really held me back from giving it five stars was because I felt some of the character back stories could have been better fleshed out, but then again that probably would have made the book 500 pages long. I also felt that outcome of some of the circumstances were a a little bit convenient, such as a few particular getaways. However, I feel survival during this time often hinged directly on the luck of the draw.
Still, this book was completely worth my time. I definitely feel that it complemented my reading of The Book of Lost Things completely, which is another book I must recommend that you check out.(less)
This is another one of those books I shouldn't just check out from the library, since I need more time to read than just the lib's three week allowanc...moreThis is another one of those books I shouldn't just check out from the library, since I need more time to read than just the lib's three week allowance. I'll finish it one day when I have the time, but what an enjoyable, historical read this has been. (less)