smetchie's Reviews > Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
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Dec 28, 11

bookshelves: book-club, depressing, hippies-or-hate-or-lurking
Read in December, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Fuck you Sarah's Key, you manipulative sonofabitching asshole. How dare you make me feel like this at Christmas?! Dead baby brother in a cupboard?! Really?! Gassing the parents at Auschwitz wasn't enough? I don’t give a goddamn what you throw at me for the rest of the story. I WILL NOT CRY AFTER THAT BULLSHIT. I know that’s all you want and you’re not going to get it!* Not from me.

None of the miserable crap in this story would even happen! Here's Sarah and her little brother as the police are banging on the door and taking the whole family away for being Jewish:
"She grabbed him, but he wriggled out of her grasp and slithered into the long, deep cupboard hidden in the surface of the wall of their bedroom. The one they played hide-and-seek in. They hid there all the time, locked themselves in, and it was like their own little house. Maman and Papa knew about it, but they always pretended they didn't."

Do they make cupboards that lock from the inside? No.
If you’ve got two kids who like to play in a cupboard with a lock, do you let them play in it with the key so they can lock each other in? No. You unlock it and hide the key. Duh.
If the police come for you and you want to protect your brother, even if you think you’re coming back in the morning, do you lock your brother in there for the night? No. No one would do that. Not even a 10-year-old. You'd just close him in. If the police try to open a cupboard to look inside and it's locked, they're going to make you unlock it.
In times of extreme fear does a 4-year-old kid decide to stay in a cupboard instead of going with their parents? No.

Then on top of all that we're supposed to believe that a new family moves into the apartment right after the old family leaves and no one smells the rotting child in the cupboard?!?! Have you ever had a mouse die under your refrigerator? A raccoon die under your porch? Right. But lets just assume that the family doesn't smell it. Maybe they don't have noses! They would still probably pick the lock so they could USE THE CUPBOARD in their goddamn new apartment!!! The whole premise of the whole plot is just one flaw after another. And then that terrible poem at the end! WHY?!?!

Not to mention the half-assed chick-lit nitwit character I couldn’t care less about. Fucking Julia. I wish she would die in a locked cupboard. She takes up most of the book with her idiotic pregnancy and her arrogant French husband. (How refreshing! An arrogant Frenchman! Where on earth did the author come up with that?!?)

Ok. Ok. Obviously this book made me really really mad and I gave it two stars, which is kind of weird! But here's why: The Sarah part of the story was really quite good. I learned about the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, which is interesting and upsetting and I'd never even heard of. It made me feel awful and guilty and pissed off, but it made me FEEL. And that's something.

*I shed one small tear at the very end totally against my will, DAMMIT! When she named the baby Sarah, even though I saw it coming a mile away and I hated her anyway so why do I care?!?! URRGH!!! (I hated Julia, not the baby. I'm sure the baby was sweet.)
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Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Stina Can't wait until you're finished.

smetchie Neither can I.

Stina Stellar review, Smetch.

message 4: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Wow. I didn't even know that you wrote reviews, smetch.

May I suggest that you suspend disbelief when Nazis are involved in a story? They're like magical unicorns. That gore people to death. In front of loved ones. And gloat about it.

smetchie Esteban wrote: "Wow. I didn't even know that you wrote reviews, smetch."

I don't.

message 6: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal But...? The evidence? Up there?

Emily lol! I felt strongly about not crying simply because I felt manipulated! I see I wasn't the only one. The only good thing I could say about the book was opening up the history on French involvement in rounding up Jews.

smetchie Yeah Emily!! I hate being manipulated like that!!

Lois I did not feel manipulated by Michel's plight and death. I feel that it served an important role in the story. Sarah was only trying to help save her brother and he died because of the French police & Nazis. NOT because of Sarah. I think the Michel plot point was there to highlight the decisions many Jewish families faced in trying to save someone or survive.

I did not get the whole Julia abortion angle though.

Shelby Cohen I really don't understand what you mean by manipulated. When you read a sad book, it might make you feel that way. Why does that mean you are being manipulated?

smetchie Shelby wrote: "I really don't understand what you mean by manipulated. When you read a sad book, it might make you feel that way. Why does that mean you are being manipulated?"

I've definitely read plenty of sad books without feeling manipulated. But as I was reading Sarah's Key, I had this overwhelming feeling that the author had set out to make me cry. That she was more focused on pulling out tears than telling the story. That's different than a book that makes me feel sad because the story touches me. This book would have been plenty sad. The author didn't need to use what I felt were lots of little tricks to twist my heart up. Does that make any sense?

message 12: by Danielle (new)


message 13: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal

smetchie I agree completely!

message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen Legg All this and more horror has happened in mankind's history and will undoubtedly happen again. We need to WAKE UP...that is what the purpose of this book is...wake up, be alert to the signs and don't allow it to happen again!

smetchie Well the part that actually happened...Yes. Horrible and more horrible. I hope we do wake up, Karen.

Heather Fuck you for spoiling the book.

message 18: by Ama (new)

Ama Major Best review ever, on any book, period.

smetchie Ama wrote: "Best review ever, on any book, period."


smetchie Heather wrote: "Fuck you for spoiling the book."


Allison Tuttle smh

Kathryn Here here. I agree entirely with your sentiments.

smetchie Thanks Kathryn!

Gabby Kuperman Smetchie, you're hilarious. That said, I disagree with a lot of your points. But I did just notice where it said the kids locked themselves in the cupboard and you're right that it probably wouldn't have been possible. She obviously locks him from the outside and the editors must have missed that. Naming her daughter Sarah was obvious as soon as she says she doesn't want to find out the sex of the baby. It's like getting a gift wrapped present but you know what's in it. I still loved the book. I also learned a lot. They never taught us about the Vel d'Hiv roundup in school. Crazy that it's still not talked about much. I recommend the book though. Sarah's story was better but I think Julie's story juxtaposed against Sarah's was a good touch.

smetchie Thanks Gabby! I'll admit that I was in a pretty negative place when I read this. :)

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