Kelly 's Reviews > A Mad Desire to Dance

A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel
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's review
Apr 21, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, family-issues, war
Read in May, 2009

I really didn't care for this book. In fact, I haven't cared for Wiesel's last two books. I loved Night and Dawn, but the others are paltry compared to these two.

I understand that a person who lives and suffers through something like the Holocaust probably never gets over it and spends his entire life trying to work through it. Writing Night was a cathartic experience for Wiesel, but this book is a repeat of all he has written of in the past. And Wiesel comes across angry and bitter in this book. Of course, it must be hard to be him and expect to see the world be a better place than it was in WW2, but realize that we are still hurting each other today.

If writing is cathartic for him, then he should continue to write but perhaps not publish if he is going to write the same thing over and over again. I feel bad for saying this, but it's how I feel. This book tarnished my view of him, and that makes me incredibly sad.

I appreciate that Doriel, the main character, has issues with his mother that he needs to resolve before he can love a woman, and I am thankful for the uplifting (?) ending where that is concerned. (I would have been furious if the book did not have some happiness after so much despair.) The ending is brief and doesn't offer a lot of joy from it. I found the dialogue with the psychiatrist tedious. Wiesel used this convention in order for Doriel to relay his history/memories/past, but I got sick of this interplay.

The book does show us that survivors of the Holocaust does not mean just those who lived through the camps, but that many others were affected as well. And I appreciate that Wiesel focused on France and the resisters, and I did like Doriel's search for peace and happiness through Judaism and the complexities this brought him.

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