Karyl's Reviews > Raquela

Raquela by Ruth Gruber
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's review
Sep 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, interlibrary-loans
Read from September 10 to 13, 2012

A fascinating look at the birth of Israel through the eyes of a woman whose family goes back nine generations as residents of Jerusalem. It begins in 1929, when Palestine was still very much a backwater, and continues throughout its struggle for independence as the state of Israel. What I found most interesting is I'd always assumed that Israel had been allowed to form by most of the Western members of the UN; I had no idea that Britain was so very much opposed to it. It was shocking for me to find out that the Holocaust survivors who had made their way to the Promised Land after enduring such horrors found in concentration camps were then interned in yet more camps, separated by gender and kept behind barbed wire. My heart broke for all of those people when I read that.

The writing itself could have been stronger, though I am sure it was difficult for Gruber to put together a book that isn't quite a straight-up biography but is also based on a real person and therefore isn't a novel. It's rather like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in that respect -- a fictionalized biography. I was also a little disappointed with the emphasis on Raquela's "stunning" good looks, as if all her hard work and dedication to pregnant women and newborns were secondary to her beauty.

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Reading Progress

09/12/2012 page 196
42.0% "She stared at the crowded shops and the white stone houses with overhanging balconies covered with tile "So today there really exists in the world," she said slowly, "a place without barbed wire.""
09/12/2012 page 218
47.0% "The British were writing their final epitaph in Palestine in violence and chaos. Each day the British machinery of government disintegrated further... Palestine was burning–its arsonists both Arabs and Englishmen. It was a tragedy, for the British had done much that was admirable in this land."

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