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The Book of Aron

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  4,227 ratings  ·  687 reviews
Aron, the narrator, is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution. He and a handful of boys and girls risk their lives by scuttling around the ghetto to smuggle and trade contraband through the quarantine walls in hopes of k ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published May 5th 2015)
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Popular Answered Questions
Donna I think so. I recommended it to a youth services librarian.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Shari Strong It's an interesting question in terms of point of view. Since the story is told by Aron as an "I" narrator, I wonder whom he is theoretically speaking…moreIt's an interesting question in terms of point of view. Since the story is told by Aron as an "I" narrator, I wonder whom he is theoretically speaking or writing to. Theoretically, there is a point at which he's telling this story, yes? What that point is, and to whom it's being told, is never made clear. (less)

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3.67  · 
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 ·  4,227 ratings  ·  687 reviews

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Ron Charles
In the summer of 1942, German soldiers expelled almost 200 starving children from an orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto and packed them into rail cars bound for Treblinka. As with so many entries in the encyclopedia of Nazi atrocities, the depravity of that act and our inability to fathom such cruelty threaten to eclipse the individuality of the victims.

Historians push back against the obliteration of chaos, time and shame, but talented novelists have also offered their creative gifts in this sacred
Maria Espadinha
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
De Sapo a Príncipe

Esta narrativa flui num tom monocórdico , com a musicalidade dum teclado de máquina de escrever!

Acontecimentos atrozes são-nos transmitidos sem sombra de emoção, o que nos leva a questionar sobre a índole do nosso jovem narrador:

Que monstrozinho será este, que não se compadece com a desgraça alheia?

De facto, uma analise superficial conduzirá a uma reacção dessa estirpe!
Porém, se cavarmos mais fundo, não faltarão razões capazes de ratificar a bizarria de tal comportamento:

Diane S ☔
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Aron was a young boy living with his mom and dad in a nice house in the Warsaw countryside. When Hitler invades Poland all Jews are gathered up and relocated to what will become known as the Warsaw ghetto. I, think this is the first book I have read that takes place only in the ghetto. The people starving, a street smart Aaron and a group of young boys find ways to get out of the ghetto to bring back much needed items. The ghetto gets smaller and smaller as many come down with typhus and whole s ...more
I’d read such rave reviews of this novel set in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War, and I’ve always meant to try something by Jim Shepard, so this seemed an ideal place to start. I got to page 53, about 19% of the way through, and decided to stop because although this is a fairly believable child’s voice, it is only being used to convey information. To me the spark of personality and the pull of storytelling are lacking. I felt like I was reading a history book about the Holocaust, su ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inhumanity
When my niece was just a few years old, her family dog died in his sleep as a result of advanced old age. When my sister tried to explain that the dog was gone, my niece looked at her, baffled, and said, “But where’s the blood?”

It was inconceivable to her that something as monumental as death could be so seemingly ordinary. I’m starting my review this way because I have read many reviews that criticize The Book of Aron for the reportorial and too often flat voice of the narrator. But for me, tha
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
The Book of Aron is narrated in the first person by Aron Różycki, a poor Jewish boy from Panevezys, a town in (then) northern Poland, near the Lithuanian border. After his father finds work at a factory in Warsaw, Aron and his family move to the capital with hope of improving their life, which is extremely short-lived: the Germans invade and quickly win their short war with Poland, and soon all of Warsaw's Jews end up being stripped of their possessions and forced to move to a specifically devel ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly moving novel , written from the perspective of a young boy, named Aron Rozycki. Aron begins his early childhood living in Panevzys, near the Lithuanian border. When his father is offered a job in a factory, the family move to Warsaw to try to escape the poverty that is grinding the family down. However, when the Germans invade Poland, Aron finds that his life, and that of his family, becomes harder and more restricted. The area they live in becomes part of the Warsaw Ghetto ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars - Fantastic books

Some spoilers ahead, some hidden and some not, proceed at your own discretion.

This is one of the best fictional Holocaust books I’ve ever read, as bleak as that sounds. Jim Shepard writes a story that’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. There are so many books about the Holocaust that it can be hard to stand out but Jim Shepard managed to do just that. He’s written a devastatingly unique story that kept me engaged until the very end.

Shepard tells the story of Aron
Jennifer Armstrong
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I will have to wipe the tears from my eyes to write a review. This book was extraordinary. Powerful. A masterpiece. I predict it will become a classic of Holocaust literature. As a children's bookseller, I read this with the idea that it might work in school curriculum/ WWII/ Holocaust studies, since the narrator is a child. Will it? The answer is yes, and largely for the reasons that it's so powerful. The writing is extremely simple, very direct, from the point of a view of a kid with little or ...more
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
For a Holocaust book, I found this unbelievably emotionless. The prose was almost as if a newspaper reporter had written it; just the facts. I'm not sure if that was Shepard's intent, but it makes for a very sterile, removed read about a subject that is normally beyond heartbreaking.
Wendy Cosin
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ww-ii
The Book of Aron is an historic novel, one of the main characters of which is Janusz Korczak, a doctor and childrens’ advocate who ran the best known orphanage in Warsaw in the early 1940’s. The narrator is 10-year-old Aron, who provides a chronology of his life in the ghetto before and during the Nazi occupation. Aron describes his day-to-day life: what happened and what people said in the train of thought and speech pattern of a child. The author combines long compound sentences with short sen ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
Powerful child’s-eye view of the hell that was the Warsaw Ghetto.

Jim Shepard has produced an oddly dispassionate child's-eye view of the Warsaw Ghetto. I say oddly because the most shocking incidents are described in such a matter of fact way which both underlines the innocence of children, but also the normalcy that violence became in those times.

This short book packs a massive punch as Aron describes his descent into the hell of being Jewish under Nazi rule in Poland.

Not one for the faint hea
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
For some reason I keep returning to World War II in my reading life. I want to know the why of it, how it could have happened. Hitler’s Germany seems almost too horrible to be true. I suppose my World War II addiction is a way of avoiding the nightly news and the daily fresh news it brings with the slight comfort of knowing that World War II happened so long ago. When I read about Shepard’s new book I determined I wouldn’t spend the time to read it yet in the end I did. I’m glad I did.

It’s the f
This is the simply written story of a young Polish boy named Aron living in poverty in Warsaw at the beginning of WWII. It is written from the child's vantage point. He does poorly in school, has multiple siblings including a sickly younger brother and his parents both work - his mother scrubbing floors and taking in laundry and his father in a factory. Descriptions of the oppression and violence against Poland's Jewish citizens gradually builds. They are restricted from areas, they are all move ...more
Isaura Pereira
Há algum tempo que este livro andava nas estantes da biblioteca que frequento à espera de ser lido. Sendo sobre esta temática esperei precisamente por Janeiro para o ler.

Não sabia nada dele. Não li a sinopse, não li críticas, opiniões. Contudo, não foi uma leitura que me cativasse. Não me agarrou e por vezes tornou-se algo aborrecido. De certa forma consegui compreender a mensagem que o autor tentou transmitir, mas não me encantou.

Tenho todo o respeito por este tema e por todas estas histórias
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started off this book, and continued at least 100 pages into it, wondering about the flatness of the narrative voice. The story is delivered in a detached matter-of-fact fashion, telling of the formation and the increasing repression and suffering of the Warsaw ghetto, and I kept thinking, at some point a story this wrenching is finally going to break open and tear my heart out.

(view spoiler)
Alison Miller-astor
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I need to differ from the critics on this one... hailed as a "masterpiece" that "will join the short list of classics about children caught up in the Holocaust", "a Holocaust novel that stands with the most powerful writing on that subject", it just never really hit home for me. Described as "Heartbreaking, shattering, charming, and brilliant", it never resonated with me on any deep emotional level. Sad, yes. Interesting, so-so. Maybe I've read too many Holocaust novels, but this one just failed ...more
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, war
My mother and father named me Aron, but my father said they should have named me What Have You Done, and my uncle told everyone they should have called me What Were You Thinking. I broke medicine bottles by crashing them together and let the neighbors' animals loose from pens. My mother said my father shouldn't beat such a small boy, but my father said that one misfortune was never enough for me, and my uncle told her that my kind of craziness was like stealing from the rest of the family.

Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jim Shepard’s novel is the story of a young adolescent boy, Aron, in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. It actually follows his life over a few years, from shortly before the walling in of the ghetto until its evacuation. All the horrors of that place and time are described with special emphasis on the frequent role of children in stealing and smuggling in order to survive. There are probably few details that most of us have not read about many times before, but I was struck by the emotional ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This is another 2016 TOB shortlisted book. I wasn’t super impressed at the beginning, but it really got me by the end of it. The Book of Aron is historical fiction about the Warsaw Ghetto and obliquely (the book takes many, many pages to get there) about a real life figure, Dr. Janusz Korczak, who ran an orphanage within the Ghetto until he and his charges were shipped off to Treblinka and presumably gassed. The story is told form the perspective of Aron, a young Jewish boy whose family first mo ...more
Cristiana de Sousa
Tenho um certo fascínio por historias sobre a segunda guerra mundial. Por isso quando li a sinopse deste livro fiquei logo intrigada. Apesar de não ter grandes expectativas sobre a historia, não posso deixar de estar desiludida. Estava à espera que o livro me cativa-se sobretudo porque é contada sobre o olhar de uma criança que passa por horrores que nenhuma criança jamais deveria passar. Não me conectei nem senti empatia com nenhuma personagem. O que para um livro que retrata este período tao s ...more
Margaret Bamford
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the way the novel was written from the view point of a boy. For me it made the horror of what was happening more real. An upsetting novel but worth reading.
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm going to crawl into bed and remain in a fetal position for a day or two. When I can get up and function normally again I'll try to write a review.
Mal Warwick
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trade-fiction
The annihilation of the Warsaw Ghetto was one of the signature events of the Second World War. Its story has been told innumerable times, in print, on film, and in oral histories. But, since I don’t go out of my way to seek out books about the Holocaust, I hadn’t yet come across a book that tells the tale from the perspective of a child. The Book of Aron, a novel by Jim Shepard, does that job brilliantly. It is a superb contribution to the extensive literature about World War II.

This is not one
Dawn Michelle

I am not sure how to rate this book - books about war and the horrors of war are always difficult to rate AND review. I cannot say I liked this book; the subject matter is horrific and I spent much of the last part of the book in tears. But it is a well crafted book; the author tells the story well. You feel EXACTLY what you are supposed to feel and his accomplishment of that is to be commended [I cannot even imagine writing a book like this - I would need puppies and rainbows and unicorns for w
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Samo je teško kada uvek sve što osećaš moras da osećaš sam."

Ovo bi isto mogao da kaže Aron. Dete, Jevrejin u Poljskoj pred početak Drugog svetskog rata.
Dete kome je rat oduzeo sve i nemilosrdno lupao šamare. One životne.
Kada izgubi sve one koje voli i nađe se sam u trenucima kada je Poljska pod okupacijom, Aronu ne preostaje ništa drugo nego da sam šeta ulicama glavnog grada.
Janoš Korčak, doktor, štićenik dece i pedijatar priznat širom Evrope kao neko ko se bori za prava deteta uzima ga pod s
Shari Strong
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
3-1/2 to 4 stars. With spare and simple language, Shepard depicts the fates of Jewish children, families, and orphans—and a noble doctor—living in Warsaw before and after the German invasion. The worsening conditions (in the city, in the ghetto, in an orphanage) are laid out plainly, without high drama. A sort of slow boiling of the frog, as seen through a child's resigned, unsentimental eyes. As a reader, I was drawn into the characters' growing misery and dread, yet Shepard kept the story from ...more
Vasco Simões
Apr 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: owned-books
As crianças e o holocausto. Perspetiva de Aron, um rapazito polaco, que vê como a sua vida e a da sua família, amigos, bairro, cidade muda completamente com a chegada dos nazis. O resto já dá para imaginar e pelo meio muitas atrocidades. No entanto, o livro em si não me gerou particular apego. Não sei explicar a razão.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Insightful and well written. The reader gets carried along with Aron's story.
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The Rooster!: TOB16 Title - Shepard's The Book of Aron 5 51 Mar 11, 2016 02:03PM  
Tournament of Books: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Book of Aron, by Jim Shepard 21 125 Feb 28, 2016 12:41PM  
Play Book Tag: The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard 3 stars 3 15 Feb 24, 2016 06:06PM  
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  • Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust
  • The Empire of the Senses
  • Trieste
  • Far to Go
  • Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps
  • Saints and Villains
  • The Shawl
  • Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer
  • Farewell to Prague
  • Motherland
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Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Achievement in Jewish Literature from the American Library Association and the PEN/New England Award for fiction, and five story collections, including his new collection, The World To Come. Five of his short stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for ...more
“The child has the right to respect,’ ” he said. “ ‘The child has the right to develop. The child has the right to be. The child has the right to grieve. The child has the right to learn. And the child has the right to make mistakes.’ ” 2 likes
“the cure for a toothache was to slap the other side of your face.” 2 likes
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