Kristin's Reviews > The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
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Jun 26, 10

bookshelves: 2010
Read on June 18, 2010 — I own a copy

Using the familiar fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, Louis Murphy weaves a Holocaust story. I found using the Grimm's fairy tale as a way to convey the horror and devastation of the Holocaust quite clever. If you have ever read Grimm's in the original German, you know that the fairy tales were actually quite terrifying and gruesome.


I will say that I thought that the comparisons in the novel were quite a stretch. The step-mother was indeed cruel. I realize that the will to live is quite powerful. But, I cannot imagine anyone, even an evil step-mother abandoning children in order to better escape the Nazis. Although the children were young (11 and 7), they were old enough to keep pace and follow directions to make escape possible. Magda, the woman with whom the children hide, was no more of a witch than I am. She was just an eccentric older woman, whose thoughts and ideas were different than the villagers she lived with. In any case, she risked her life in order to save the children, and for that she should not be vilified.


In any case, the novel presented an accurate depiction of survival of a Jewish family. While the children became "Aryans", the parents hid in the woods and joined with resistance fighters, each trying to survive and be eventually reunited.


Murphy's novel is fair. I've read other Holocaust stories that pack more of a punch. The title, The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, is what first caught my eye; however, it is somewhat misleading, as the story is definitely fiction.
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