I love to read and I have done book reviews for quite a while.
As some of you may know, I’ve been able to read since I was three years old. I’m almost 38 so I have read a LOT over the years. My tastes have changed over time. Currently, I like psychological thrillers, memoirs, some random fiction and of course, books related to the Holocaust.
My absolute favorite book is “The Diary of Anne Frank”. I’ve read it repeatedly and know how it ends, but I still enjoy reading it. As of yet, my kids haven’t read it. They’re not big readers, but they know the background of the story. It’s family history around here. For some reason, I haven’t done a review on this book.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this book, it is the diary of Anne Frank, a young girl born in Germany but was forced to move early in life because her family was Jewish and they were trying to outrun Hitler and his army. They ended up in the attic of a warehouse with another family and a dentist, relying on good luck and help from friends for two years. It’s still unclear who exactly made the call, but they were found by SS Agents and were sent to various concentration camps.
The only person that survived was Anne’s dad, Otto. He later died in 1980. He was able to recover Anne’s diary after the war was over and he had learned that his wife and daughters were dead. The book was published in many languages and has been read by people all over the world.
I recommend it because, quite honestly, I’m seeing some parallels to what Anne witnessed while writing in her diary. Without getting too political, certain recent events in the government will remind anyone of Nazi Germany. Kids struggle more than we think they do in times of war, civil unrest and other world events. Besides all this, Anne was a teenager, like I once was with a lot of similar thoughts and ideas.
Speaking of family history, another book has always kept my interest. Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple” was once married to a white man and together, they had a daughter, Rebecca. I’m not sure how I heard of this book, but I am so glad that I found “Black, White and Jewish”. It describes me well.
Rebecca split time with her parents, but never fully felt like she fit in. She had friends who thought she was “too black” or “too white” and this is one of my biggest pet peeves with the world at large. There really isn’t such a thing as that, and we shouldn’t have to prove who we are to anyone. I don’t think I had the “identity crisis” that people seem to think most, if not all, biracial people do, but I definitely struggled to fit in as a kid.
I hate barbeque sauce, but I will throw hot sauce on many foods. My favorite band is Fleetwood Mac, but Megan thee Stallion is on my list of favorite rappers. My music tastes are diverse. As of the time I am writing this, Billy Joel’s “Allentown” is the most often played song on my phone.
I was able to identify so much with Rebecca and she was able to write this memoir without sounding whiny about growing up the way she did.
“Night Film” is a bit long, over 600 pages, but it is worth it. If you are into thrillers and a bit of mystery, this is a good novel to read. I read about this book on Buzzfeed and it did not lead me wrong. There are so many twists and turns to keep you occupied. I loved how everything fit together in the plot.
“Random Family” runs through many years in the life of a New York City family. Friends come and go, siblings go to jail, the matriarch gets sick as she ages and the children born to teen mothers are teens themselves as the story ends.
I was so intrigued by this book- LeBlanc’s details are incredible. I have a hard time putting this down once I start. I don’t know how many times I have read this, but I really enjoy it. There’s a little of everything in it- drama, romance, comedy, confusion, among other emotions and situations.
LeBlanc, the author, actually followed this family over 11 years. She interviewed friends that became family and basically became family herself while working on the novel. I haven’t found any other books by this author, but I imagine that I would enjoy just about anything she writes.
“Random Family” kind of reminds me of a soap opera, but in a book.
My final pick is “Ravensbruck”. This was the only concentration camp exclusively created for women during the Holocaust. Like most camps, the weather was awful most of the year, the women were worked until their bodies gave out and they lost everything while in these camps. They dodged the gas chamber daily, had abortions they didn’t want or had to watch their newborns die of starvation.
Parts of this book can be difficult to read, no matter who you are. This story, however, tells of strength and courage. These women were not going to back down or die as those who ran the camp wanted them do. Staying alive was a daily battle. They were smart and for the most part, bonded together to figure out what to do next.
More than all that, these women weren’t about to die without the world knowing what was going on. They sent notes to family through interesting methods, but unfortunately, this camp still isn’t commonly known to everyone, even though it should be.
The ending is spectacular and I won’t ruin it for you. It’s a plot TWIST.
This novel reminds me of what I have inherited from my ancestors- the will to keep going even when things looks really bad, intelligence, a caring spirit and of course, that they did not die for me to not live a kickass life.
That’s it! Five books for you to explore and enjoy. Feel free to leave comments, let me know what you think.