Carolina's Reviews > Night

Night by Elie Wiesel
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Feb 10, 2017

it was amazing
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NIGHT by Elie Wiesel was a short read, but a brutal read, providing an up-close, first-person account of the horrors of the Holocaust. Written by a death camp survivor, NIGHT offers the reader a distinct sense of realism, which seems to diminish all sense of distance and remove from the nightmarish, all-too-real events. Every step of the way, you find your hopes lifting along with the young Elie's only to discover, like Elie, how much worse it could get. As you move from one paragraph to the next, you experience the abominable reality of the Holocaust as it unfolds. When it's over, you can only really be relieved. It's difficult to endure, even secondhand through words on a page, to witness such crimes against humanity and the impact it can have on even the most faithful.

But this is not a story about all the terrible things Hitler's Nazi regime inflicted on Jewish people and others. Rather, this is a story about a young Jewish boy who survived all those terrible things. This is a story about the loss of innocence and faith, and one boy's fight to remain humane in the face of an evil that denies him his humanity. Through it all, we see the impact of fear and suffering, and the ways that the most unexpected people can abandon their humanity. But, too, NIGHT demonstrates the resounding impact that small acts of love, courage and kindness can have to sustain a person in the darkest of times. Above all, though, NIGHT reimagines a true story of survival--not to emphasize some sort of resilience of the human spirit, I don't think, but because we must remember all those who suffered and those who did not survive, those whose spirits and backs and lives were broken by atrocities no human should ever have to face--atrocities inflicted by a cultured people and too long ignored by the rest of the world.

It's a painful read, to be sure. Haunting. And it feels so close, like stepping into Elie's tattered shoes. But it's thankfully experienced from the safe distance of time and a book in your hands. It's a cathartic read. And a must read. It may not be a personal history, but it remains as a whole our history, and we honor those who have suffered by remembering them and confronting the painful reality of our history and their tremendous losses. Just as important, in learning this history not as a paragraph or two in some high school textbook far removed from actual experiences of those who lived through it, but as a secondhand experience through the eyes of a survivor, we can help to safeguard ourselves from apathy in the face of evil and prevent the repetition of such a history.

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February 10, 2017 – Shelved

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