Saturday, May 21, 2011

"The Devil's Arithmetic" by Jane Yolen

"Hannah is tired of hearing about the Nazis during the Holocaust, but when she opens the door for Elijah at the Passover Seder, she is transported in time to 1940s Poland, where she is captured and put in a death camp. A girl named Rivka befriends her, teaching her how to fight the dehumanization of the camp and hold onto her identity."-goodreads

I said 'painfully realistic', 'important', and 'powerful must-read' when I reviewed Between Shades of Gray a while back. The same can be said for The Devil's Arithmetic. 


This is a very hard book to read; and I don't mean that because it was a bad book. It's very sad and it's terrifying. It's terrifying, because just like Hannah does, you know what is happening, you know what's going to happen. The characters may not have been real people, they were just reflections of survivor's accounts of the holocaust, but their situation (like that of Lina's in Between Shades of Gray) and their journey is dreadfully accurate. 


These things really happened. The whole book was very realistic, with the exception of the obvious Hannah traveling to the past and such. It's an important story, and while we witness the important story unfold, we learn the equally important lesson that Hannah learns over the course of the book: that we must remember our history, our heritage, and the hardships that our relatives (distant or close) had to endure so that we could be here.


The writing was good, the story important and unglamorized. It's brutally honest, and a very important but powerful read. These people tried to keep hope, as Hannah and her relatives did. I recommend this book because it's all around important, and for people that liked Between Shades of Gray for all of the above reasons.

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