Most books WWII books I read are novels that capture you and plunge you into a world where the character is living a nightmare. The Zookeeper's Wife wMost books WWII books I read are novels that capture you and plunge you into a world where the character is living a nightmare. The Zookeeper's Wife was pleasantly pleasantly different. It is informative and interesting while giving me an arms-length involvement in the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Poland. Likewise the subjects of the book, Jan and Antonina (the zookeeper couple), provided an oasis amidst war despite their heavy involvement in the Polish Underground resistance. Their home was filled with music, animals, and friends. And for their bravery they helped save hundreds of those condemned in the Nazi machine.
The zoo was by no means ideal for hiding refugees. The villa stood close to Ratuszowa Street, right out in the open like a lighthouse...right in the middle of the zoo, Germans had built a storehouse for weapons confiscated from the Polish army. Other German soldiers often visited the zoo as well, for a dose of greenery and quiet, and no one could predict how many might appear, or when, since they didn't seem to favor one time of day over another...
[Jan's] choosing to hide weapons and Jews in plain sight, in the heart of a Nazi encampment, proved to be good psychology, but I think it was also a kind of one-upmanship he savored, a derisive private joke. p112-113...more
Its like X-Men meets One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I liked the premise of the main conflict of the novel. Those who are gifted with special skills aIts like X-Men meets One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I liked the premise of the main conflict of the novel. Those who are gifted with special skills are likewise cursed with traits that make them seem crazy and are therefore set up as victims in a sane world. I also loved the family dynamic.
Note for friends: by the third novel there were a few expletives. I can't recommend this series....more
I liked the first book of this series best. Meira changed from a spunky wanna-be warrior to a guilt-ridden paralyzed would-be queen; where she stayedI liked the first book of this series best. Meira changed from a spunky wanna-be warrior to a guilt-ridden paralyzed would-be queen; where she stayed for the majority of the second and third novel. And then, she figured 'it' out and was released from her own mental prison. It took a long time though and I missed the Meira from the first novel. ...more
This novel is an excellent prequel to Jeannette Walls memoir The Glass Castle and I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed that book. It helps fill in theThis novel is an excellent prequel to Jeannette Walls memoir The Glass Castle and I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed that book. It helps fill in the blanks. I often found myself wondering how this creature, Rosemary, could choose to neglect her children so selfishly and thoroughly. Watching Rosemary grow up through her mother's, Lily's, eyes lightens the stage. And in some warped way, Rosemary is a product of Lily's upbringing. But this novel is not about Rosemary. Lily never played supporting character to anyone. She is a star in her own right and reading about they way she chose to play her role is pure entertainment.
"There were eight horses in all, stumpy, tough little mustangs, the kind that cowboys rounded up out in the wild and sat on for a day or two so they'd just barely accept a saddle. I figured that was what Old Man Pucket's sons had done with these critters. None of the males was gelded. They were unshod, with chipped-up hooves in terrible need of trimming, and their manes and tails were matted with burrs. They were also scared, watching us nervously and clearly wondering what sort of dreadful end these humans had in store for them.
The problem with half-broke horses like these was that no on took the time to train them... They were, however, intelligent and had pluck, and if you broke them right, they made good horses. p.48-49
Just as Count Pierre Bezukhov represents Russia in War and Peace, Okonkwo is the incarnation of the Umuofia warrior tribes of Nigeria. His adherence tJust as Count Pierre Bezukhov represents Russia in War and Peace, Okonkwo is the incarnation of the Umuofia warrior tribes of Nigeria. His adherence to the culture and his unbending masculine prowess become both the tool of his power and the ultimate chains of his defeat in the face of change brought by the white missionaries.
It is interesting to note that Okonkwo has only one character trait, that of a violent ignoramus. It seems his only motivation is pride. Any intelligent conversation in the novel, thematically speaking, is put forth by other speakers.
"Does the white man understand our custom about the land?" "How can he when he does not even speak out tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart." p.176 (Obierika)
"It is good in these days when the younger generation consider themselves wiser than their sires to see a man doing things in the grand, old way. A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so. You may ask why I am saying all this. I say it because I fear for the younger generation, for you people...because you do not understand how strong is the bond of kinship. You do not know what it is to speak with one voice. And what is the result? An abominable religion has settled among you. A man can now leave his father and his brothers. He can curse the gods of his fathers and his ancestors, like a hunter's dog that suddenly goes mad and turns on his master. I fear for you; I fear for the clan." p.166-167 (one of the oldest members of the kinsmen speaking)
"It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say that mother is supreme. Is it right that you, Okonkwo, should bring to your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted? Be careful or you may displease the dead. Your duty is to comfort your wives and children and take them back to your father land after seven years. But if you allow sorrow to weigh you down and kill you, they will all die in exile." p.134 (Uchendu)
"...it wasn't cider which made me in this moment a champion of everything he ordered, to run as though I were the abstraction of speed, to walk the ha"...it wasn't cider which made me in this moment a champion of everything he ordered, to run as though I were the abstraction of speed, to walk the half-circle of statues on my hands, to balance on my head on top of the icebox on top of the Prize Table, to jump if he had asked it across the Naguamsett and land crashing in the middle of Quackenbush's boathouse, to accept at the end of it amid a clatter of applause - for on this day even the schoolboy egotism of Devon was conjured away - a wreath made from the evergreen trees which Phineas placed on my head. It wasn't the cider which made me surpass myself, it was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943, the escape we had concocted, this afternoon of momentary, illusory, special and separate peace.
And it was this which caused me not to notice Brownie Perkins rejoin us from the dormitory, and not to hear what he was saying until Finny cried hilariously, 'A telegram for Gene? It's the Olympic Committee. They want you! Of course they want you! Give it to me Brownie, I'll read it aloud to this assembled host.' And it was this which drained away as I watched Finny's face pass through all the gradations between uproariousness and shock." p.136-137
"Looking back now across fifteen years, I could see with great clarity the fear I had lived in, which must mean that in the interval I had succeeded in a very important undertaking: I must have made my escape from it." p.10
"The tree was not only stripped by the cold season, it seemed weary from age, enfeebled, dry. I was thankful, very thankful that I had seen it. So the more things remain the same, the more they change after all...Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence." p.14
It is difficult to write a light-hearted story in the backdrop of war and seige of Leningrad, but Benioff makes a valiant effort. Never having watchedIt is difficult to write a light-hearted story in the backdrop of war and seige of Leningrad, but Benioff makes a valiant effort. Never having watched Game of Thrones (for which Benioff is a writer) I assumed that the voice recognized would be full of whit. I was wrong. The overwhelming voice was vulgarity. A good story. An important historical moment. I just don't prefer crude language and conversation. ...more
As a trilogy, this series was solid. The last book wasn't a disappointment like some other series I have encountered. This third book was actually morAs a trilogy, this series was solid. The last book wasn't a disappointment like some other series I have encountered. This third book was actually more exciting than the previous 2 and had a strong ending. ...more
It read like a novel - a plot moving forward, not losing intensity or interest. The fact that it was so blatantly real is astonishing given the lifestIt read like a novel - a plot moving forward, not losing intensity or interest. The fact that it was so blatantly real is astonishing given the lifestyles of the citizens of North Korea. I kept thinking to myself, "What was I doing when this was happening to these people?" Wishing I had at least known more. To be a witness of their suffering. Yet, even with their situation so dramatic, Barbara Demick was able to keep the reading unencumbered with depression. An amazing accomplishment. I recommend this to all of my Goodreads friends who are serious readers. ...more
I wasn't expecting this to be Christian literature. Though, it felt natural to the story line - meaning that when the protagonist wanted to pray thereI wasn't expecting this to be Christian literature. Though, it felt natural to the story line - meaning that when the protagonist wanted to pray there were no paragraphs extolling the virtues of prayer, she simply wanted to pray. Was looking for guidance. Natural. Refreshing. She went to church just like millions of other Americans. No need to explain why or convince the reader that it was the right thing to do. That was a bit of fresh air and allowed for the wonderful story surrounding this dress that came to her to be told. I loved Charlotte's coexisting strength and vulnerability. She had gumption but wasn't too stoic to show emotion.
Despite Hauck's decision to just let a Christian lifestyle be, side stepping that pitfall, she wasn't able to break away from the too often Christian writer's failing to let a metaphor be a metaphor. I was disappointed in the end that once the metaphor of the dress had been offered she felt the need to then take a couple pages and point out 'Hey, this is what the metaphor was all about in case you missed it.' It left a bad taste in my mouth. (I also didn't care for the fact that the gentleman always wore purple, which I know is a representation of royalty...but, come on. It felt cliche.)
So, two out of three isn't bad. At least the story was allowed to be told without a bunch of preaching. And it was a good story. The ending just needed to be less of a pie in the face obvious. ...more