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Customer Review

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Appalling, May 11, 2010
This review is from: Ashes (Hardcover)
I thought this might be an interesting point of view from a German girl as the world headed toward WWII. What I found was the point of view of an indulged girl who essentially was bemoaning the loss of her immensely comfortable world for one only slightly less so. While it is natural for a child to be so egocentric and see everything through the lens of how it affected her, the author certainly doesn't have that excuse. It boggles the mind to have the worst thing that happened to Gaby was her losing three books and cutting her hair off, by choice. She left her school by choice, she wasn't banned. Her sister became pregnant by her boyfriend, she wasn't raped, worked to death or forced into prostitution. There were no edicts banning Gaby and her family from going anywhere or doing or having anything, there were no yellow stars, there were no roundups for her family, there was no forcible head shaving. Instead, there were one or two nasty remarks and someone refusing to drive their still intact family, except for her sister who chose to stay behind, to their vacation home. Oh the horror!

I gave the book two stars as it did indicate, contrary to what people seem to believe now, that Hitler was around for many years prior to being the leader of Germany, being elected to political power, and being very clear from the beginning in his anti-Semitic views. it also shows clearly that obviously much the German nation was very much in support of those views and of the atrocities, and by no means a "victim" of one little man who "perpetrated everything all by himself."

I can't imagine what impression this book would leave on a child.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 21, 2010 9:07:14 AM PST
This is a very strange review. I don't think the point of the book is that Gaby is suffering--no, she isn't individually singled out for torment, and Lasky doesn't at all suggest that she is--but that she is observing her world going mad. That's the fascination of this powerful book: a clear-eyed, intelligent girl is watching Germany descending into a time of horror.

Posted on Feb 10, 2011 8:25:44 AM PST
I work with children on a daily basis. When teaching WWII and the Holocaust, children understand how it all ends: death and destruction. What they don't understand (and what very few people can explain to them) is how anyone let it get so far. They don't understand how regular people allowed, went along with, or even supported the Nazi party.

That's what I loved about this book: it doesn't explain how it all ended; instead, it walks you through how it all began. And you're right: it didn't start with people disappearing and ghettos being set up. It started with people's attitudes and opinions. It started with the schools and the workers. And it started with the books.

Like Number the Stars, I think this is a wonderful introduction to a very complex (and often oversimplified) situation. This book steps up to the challenge of answer the young reader's question: how did this happen?

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 9:06:28 PM PDT
Patricia says:
From what you write, it seems you don't understand that Germans, too, were vicitmiszed by Hitler. No, they wren't killed -- except on the battlefield -- but their minds were twisted inside-out, and their worst natures were brought out. German women were turned into baby-making machines, and children and parents with differing views on the Reich were turned against each other...sometimes turning each other in.

As one of "the boys" said in the play, "Harold and the Boys", (about South African apartheid), said: "Master Harold, you can see what this is doing to us. But can you see what it is doing to YOU?"

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2011 9:47:50 PM PDT
susannah says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Aug 18, 2013 11:09:28 PM PDT
E. Retay says:
This is an unfair review of this book. The book starts out in 1932, 7 years before Hitler even gave the order to start rounding up the Jews and putting them in ghettos. Hitler had been around since he was a CPL in the Austrian army during WWI, he then was rejected, twice from the Vienna Academy of Art; the second time being in 1908. This book wasn't meant to be a history lesson or a German point of view book. It was meant to portray another child's life during a time when the world was falling apart behind her. Would you really expect a child to be so observant and so involved in politics? Especially if things had been changing gradually around her. none of my cousins who all were about 8-10 during the Sept. 11 attacks scarcely remember a time when all Arabs were suspected of being terrorists, nor do they remember a time where you could walk a family member right up to the gate at the airport, or any other of the gradual changes this country has made to protect against terrorism.
Furthermore, history, not even German history portrays Germany of being the victim, you would be very much in support of anything that would bring your country out of hyper inflation at its worst. You really should do some research on your history. Not that I agree with the holocaust by any means but to understand what drove this country to the extreme of hate and genocide you need to understand their history.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2013 11:13:08 PM PDT
E. Retay says:
I agree, there is a book called "The Nazi Officers Wife" which is a first hand account of a Jewish woman who posed as a German and married a German officer. It's an auto biography and is a very good read, except for children.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2013 8:54:14 PM PDT
Meggy says:
You seem to believe then that all Germans, Poles and Russians idolized Hitler. May I suggest either delving into a history book or trying to find people who were there. The Russians were badly treated by the Germans and then by Stalin, The Poles- yes they readily went along with the Germans in some cases, however Germans considered Poles to be just above sub human. Many Germans were opposed to Hitler as well, however the penalty for speaking out against Hitler in any form during Nazi germany was death or at the very least a work camp.

I really think you should invest in some remedial history books.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2013 8:54:57 PM PDT
Meggy says:
Oh I loved that book! I have it back at my parents', but it's so worn out I'll need to buy a new one.
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