Teri's Reviews > Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
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May 29, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: mca-book-club
Read from May 29 to June 01, 2011

I found all the characters in this book to be tiresome and two-dimensional, often behaving unrealistically.

Like Trudy, the woman who dresses as if she's in mourning for 50 years because she thinks she has a Nazi father.

Or Max, the kindest and quietest soul, except when with no warning he pounces on the 19 year old Anna for rough sex without seeking consent, impregnating her with no regard to how her tyrannical Nazi father will react.

And then Anna all but forgets about Max once she begins seeing the Officer. This whole portion of the book could have been interesting if it explored Anna's conflicting feelings and how they develop during the affair, but instead it just describes all the episodes of 'creative' Nazi sex. The whole "I did it for my daughter" would have been more compelling if the book showed a real relationship between Anna and the infant, but the only time they interact is when the officer visits and Anna tells her to stay out of the way. In fact the officer's relationship with Trudy is much more convincing.

I found the writing to be very awkward - lacking in subtleties. Like when Max tells Anna that their age difference is the least of their problems [preventing them from having a relationship]. And then the narrator goes on to state that what Max meant by this was that a German in this time period could not have a relationship with a Jew. Thanks. I think we got that. And I won't even get started on the ridiculous ending.

Overall, I thought the storyline had potential - I did finish the book after all - but was poorly executed. People who liked this book should try "The Book Thief", which also portrays Germans during WWII but is infinitely better written.
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Reading Progress

04/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Jane Anne I loved your review. I agree completely. potential but poor execution. It was a book club book and most everyone else was much more positive. We are reading The Book Thief in a couple of months and I am anxious to compare the two.


Laura Myers Agree absolutely and completely with your review. Couldn't have said it better!


Jane Anne Ok. I will add that I wasn't overly impressed with the Book Thief either. A bit simplistic. After reading a lot of WWII this year for book club I would still vote for Winds of War and War and Remembrance as flat superior.


Jane Anne I mean to say far superior not flat!
How do I get rid of autocorrect?


Jane Anne Far not flat!


Marty I too went from one to four stars and settled on three.


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Smith Agree. It's like the author wanted to write a book with lots of sex scenes, but still have a weighty and deep story. Maybe a book could be written to fulfill both criteria, but this isn't it.


Jane Anne Great comment!


Anastasia It wasn't an affair. The obersturmfurher (sp?) raped her, over and over again. Sometimes she got a picnic out of it or milk for her daughter or whatever, but this was no affair.


message 10: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Thank you! I so agree, Anastasia. She was heartbroken over Max, but what else could she do to survive other than just deal the best way she could with the obersturmfuhrer?


Rhonnie I agree. I was turned off right in the beginning of the book with the weird affair with Max...he was so rough which was bizarre....And they were both so careless? It was so unrealistic and it lost me right at the get go.


Dorothy Vadas I am beginning to wonder if some of these folks are very young and naive millennials. Having come from a family of Germans, and being born right after the war to a Father who flew during WWII, crashed, and was hidden by the French and escaped capture by the Germans, I understand Trudie's angst about her German heritage. Particularly after how she and her mother were treated by their new American townspeople. The only thing I found strange was how the author told the story of Trudie's first sexual encounter with Max. I, too, thought it a little abrupt.


Shana Adler I have to agree to an extent. I really enjoyed the book, enjoyed seeing the other side of the story we don't usually hear about. It made me so sad for Anna that after everything, she never fully bonded with her husband or daughter because she didn't tell them what had really happened with Max and the bakery etc. So sad to think Jack always thought she had been in love w a Nazi when they was so not the case! But I do agree that there was a lot of rape/sex scenes and not enough scenes showing the mother/daughter relationship.


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