Sarah's Reviews > The Devil's Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
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's review
Mar 21, 2011

it was amazing

“Life!” The book I read was called The Devils Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen. It’s amazing what a little wine can do to you. Hannah, the main character of The Devil’s Arithmetic, finds this out for herself. She is at a family feast for the Jewish holiday, Passover. At the feast, she drinks the Seder wine and listens to her grandparents talk about the Holocaust. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself in the time of the Concentration Camps where her name is Chaya, which means life. She starts to have fun with a small group of girls at a little party in the town square. All of a sudden Nazis crash the party. All the Jews in the party are shoved into a small cramped rail cart. They are shipped to the concentration camp. They have a very hard time adjusting to life. The lives of many of the characters are cut short. Many of the characters are sent up to the smoke stacks or tortured until they die. They get numbers printed on their arm, and their heads shaved. What will happen to Hannah? Will she ever return to her home?
My favorite character is Hannah. She reminds me of a few of my friends. She is trust worthy, kind, and she gets angry easily. She loves her family and is worried about them too. Hannah is very courageous and strong. She shows the people around her that even though the camps were harsh and difficult they could still stay together.
This book is more appropriate for people middle school and up! Some middle schoolers will still have a hard time understanding why and how this book took place. This book has scenes of torture, cruelty, and inhumanity, which might frighten younger children. The Devil’s Arithmetic was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award. I think that it got this award because it teaches its readers about life as a Jew during World War II.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fast read and a book that is very enticing. It was really well written. I got hooked very fast and I couldn’t put it down. Please read this book!

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