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The Blood Lie: A Novel Hardcover – October 4, 2011
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"A powerful--and poignant--reminder that no person can live freely until all people can live freely."--Lauren Myracle
"Effectively mines layers of ignorance, fear, intolerance and manipulation."
"Vernick's novel is a scathing indictment of anti-Semitism, and though occasionally didactic and histrionic, it is nevertheless an important book that reminds us of the imperative need to remember lest we find ourselves repeating the horrors of the past." -- Michael Cart "Booklist November 15, 2011"
"Vernick s novel is a scathing indictment of anti-Semitismit is an important book that reminds us of the imperative need to remember lest we find ourselves repeating the horrors of the past." Booklist
"A powerfuland poignantreminder that no person can live freely until all people can live freely." Lauren Myracle, author of "Shine"
"The evolution of how an anti-Semitic lie spread throughout this community is convincingly portrayed in this story[and] the troubling issues that the book raises are sure to give readers a sense of the fragility of Jewish-Christian relations and the challenges posed by ignorance. Highly recommended for all libraries." Association of Jewish Libraries
"Effectively mines layers of ignorance, fear, intolerance and manipulation." Kirkus Reviews
"tackles the weighty issue of anti-Semitism with uncompromising clarity."Publishers Weekly
""The Blood Lie" is a riveting and hard to put down novel of small town life and the viciousness that lies in some people." Midwest Book Review
"A short story that makes an impact."Shooting Stars Mag
"Vernick has rescued a troubling historical incident and vested it with contemporary relevance." Hadassah Magazine
""The Blood Lie" is the first novel of its kind to be published in the United States."The Canadian Jewish News
"Vernick's novel is a scathing indictment of anti-Semitism...it is an important book that reminds us of the imperative need to remember lest we find ourselves repeating the horrors of the past." --Booklist
About the Author
Shirley Reva Vernick's interviews and feature articles have appeared in "Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, " national newspapers, and the publications of Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Boston Universities. She also runs a popular storytelling website, storybee.org, which is used in schools, libraries, hospitals and homes all over the world. Shirley graduated from Cornell University, majoring in economics and nutrition, and is an alumna of the Radcliffe Writing Seminars. She grew up in the town where the blood libel happened, as did her father, whose family was directly victimized by it. She now lives with her husband, two daughters, and two frisky dogs in Western Massachusetts, where she has recently helped make her town a certified fair-trade community.
Top customer reviews
But with that said -- and maybe this has to do with me being well past my teen years, a Massena native, and more familiar with the actual 1928 incident than most of Vernick's audience -- I feel that Vernick could have added more facts to give the book more historical authority. She missed out on plenty of opportunity to build up the scene of the late 1920s and the mindset of the people in Massena at the time; or even where Massena is geographically located. There examples of this througout the book (when Vernick mentions in passing that the real 1928 incident didn't gain any local media attention but it was noted in the New York Times; when she describes the sulfur springs that brought people to Massena; and the brief mention of the Alcoa facility that was the main employer in the village in 1928). The same holds true with the character development, especially when it came to Gus the booze smuggler. He started the blood libel claim to keep the police busy while he accepted his shipment, but it seems that there should be more to Gus if he's describing the blood libel. That is, where did Gus learn of the blood libel claims in the first place?
When looking at this novel as a true love story, I think Vernick could have leveraged this aspect of the novel to drive home the horrors of the anti-semetic blood libel claims. For example, what if Jack and Emalie had been in a secret relationship for months before the blood libel accusations. This would have provided an interesting juxtaposition of love and hate between Christians and Jews. Just imagine the drama that could unfold if Emalie discovered that she was carrying Jack's baby. But as a published author, I can sympathize with Vernick: writing a book is a monumental task; brainstorming what-if scenarios after reading a book isn't.
Why the four stars? It was a good read for a book targeting a teenage audience, and it would be a good book to use as an ice-breaker when talking to teenagers about all that's wrong with anti-semitism. I very much enjoyed how Vernick intertwined the love story with the hate story. Why not five stars? I think she missed out on an opportunity to take this book to an entirely whole new level.
Whenever you hear about prejudices against the Jewish faith and people who practice the faith, you automatically think of things that happened in other countries such as the Holocaust or unrest in Israel, not here in America; however, the prejudice was (is) alive and well here as well. The Blood Lie is a story that shows the reality of what it was like to be Jewish during the 1920s.
What surprised me even more was in the Author's Notes, Vernick mentions that this horrible stereotype of human sacrifice still exists today. I am always shocked (maybe naively) when I learn about the horrible racism that exists in our present time of diversity.