Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
on September 3, 2011
I could not put this book down. What I most liked about the book was that although it detailed the anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Germany, there were glimpses of what life was like before the Nazis starting gaining power, so the reader could understand why people could not believe what was happening, or that it would pass. This key component helps establish this huge sense of loss and incredulousness on the part of the Jews in Germany. While the ending left a lot up in the air (whether Karl's parents survived), a happy ending would have been too contrived, and a sad ending would not have been a satisfying conclusion to a great story.
While not as literary as "The Book Thief," it has some of the same elements that made that book so wonderful: a great main character - Karl Stern ended up being a hero; well developed secondary characters like his family, the men at the boxing club, his girlfriend, "The Countess," and, of course, Max Schmeling; interesting intertwined stories that included the ban on "degenerate" art, the world of boxing, and Karl's interest in comics books; and a sense of history.
I just read "In the Garden of the Beasts" about the US Ambassador to Germany in the early 1930s, and I would recommend reading that in conjunction with "The Berlin Boxing Club" to get two different angles on what was going on in Germany.