Anna's Reviews > Snow in August

Snow in August by Pete Hamill
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's review
Jan 15, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010
Read in February, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I loved reading this book. The prose was hauntingly beautiful, poignant and evocative. Michael, the 11 year old narrator, seems too old for his age, but this could be a by-product of the setting, which is post WWII Brooklyn. The friendship he forms with Rabbi Hirsch teaches him about life, love, loss. As the Rabbi teaches Michael Yiddish, he tells Michael stories about Prague and Jewish folklore, about his experiences in WWII, and even the loss of his wife; as a result, he becomes the father that Michael lost in the War. Ultimately, Michael and the Rabbi (and even Michael's mother) both suffer because of the relationship they forge, but the suffering is what allows both of them to grow and become better.

The only part of the book I didn't like was the end. SPOILER Warning. I loved how Michael imagines himself in Prague and in the old stories, but I don't think his imaginings are magical enough to make the magical ending realistic; Michael creates a Golem to save his mother, Rabbi Hirsch and himself from the evil Frankie McCarthy and his gang of teenage miscreants. I am usually well-able to suspend my disbelief in a story if I have been well-prepared for it, but I have to say the ending seemed out of place. Even so, I highly recommend this book.

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Reading Progress

01/15/2010 page 83
21.61% "and it makes me sad how some boys allow themselves to hide what is important to themselves in order to save face, or b/c they are afraid."
01/19/2010 page 193
50.26% "Such beautiful prose! Michael is having a love affair with knowledge..."
02/03/2010 page 370
96.35% "Poor Rabbi! Neither he nor Michael deserve such rough treatment. I can't wait to see what happens."

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