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The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) Paperback – April 12, 2004
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Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I think this was a BRILLIANT book, and I have read it more than once. It may be a little deep for those under 11, but it is good for a reader looking for a challange. Beyond that, it is in depth with the Holocaust. I reccommend anyone studying the subject to read it. Also, I believe this will greatly touch young Jews who seem like Hannah at the beginning of the story. I can't see how the story is unable to touch anyone's heart.
Hannah, a modern Jewish girl, is irritated by the Passover Seder and the "remembering" of the Holocaust, which some of her relatives lived through. But when she opens the door for Elijah, she is transported through time and space to a village in Poland.
Soon the Nazis arrive, and Hannah (called "Chaya" by everyone in this new time) must both try to survive and to keep her friends alive in the deathcamps.
I tried very, very hard to summarize this story, but the spiritual and emotional tones are simply impossible to talk about. This is an intense book, the descriptions of it simply can't express the greatness of this plot.
A haunting tale of life, death, memory and sorrow. Even though this is a children's book, it may be disturbing for younger readers--you might want to talk to your children about it afterward.
The story involves 12 year old Hannah, who is bored out of her mind at her family's Seder in the current day, and just being an unhappy typical pre-teen annoyed by all her older relatives fussing over her and telling her how it's all about remembering yadda yadda.
But when she goes ungraciously to the door to welcome Elijah, the whole world changes and suddenly she is in a Polish shtetl on the eve of a joyous wedding celebration. Everyone thinks she is Chaya, a recently orphaned relative. But when Germans and trucks show up to "resettle" the villagers, Hannah/Chaya is the one who knows what's really happening and what is going to happen.
Hannah/Chaya experiences both the joys of the soon-to-be-gone shtetl life and the horrors of transport and the camps, making this an excellent educational read for young adult readers who aren't interested in non-fiction about the Shoah. And I especially liked the way the framing story acknowledges that sometimes Passover and the Seder can seem like a drag to an older child too old for the "childish" parts of the tradition but not old enough to appreciate the deeper meanings.
This was a very fast read as an adult and I'd recommend it for older kids with some understanding of the Shoah. Even though it's written as a young adult book, I found myself fully involved in the story and moved by it, and was in tears at various parts. It's well worth reading during this season as a reminder of all we need to remember and how much we have to be grateful for in our freedom.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hannah grows tired of attending her family’s Passover Seder; she’s sick of listening to the adults reminisce about the past. What’s the point? World War II is over. Read morePublished 15 days ago by The Ultimate Book Geek
The Devil's Arithmetic was an excellent book. It was extremely captivating and well-written, and I really enjoyed it. While the plot was interesting, it was still easy to follow. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Patchwork Girl
Depressing as it is exhilarating.
The stoic valor of the Jewish people who struggled against the perpetrators ; Yet rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of betrayal and... Read more
The book is just incredible. It give a new perspective that we might not have considered. Though this book is amazing it is this way - now ill tell without sharing too much -... Read morePublished 1 month ago by e-ma
This book was one of my favorite reads this year. It follows a young Jewish girl in modern times and her journey through time to fully understand her family heritage during the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer