For those of you who weren’t aware, my Nanny was born in the Ukraine and during WWII, when she was just 18, she was marched from her home, never to return. She never saw her family again and never went back. My Grandpa was born and raised in Poland and was also a prisoner of war at a German farm where he worked for years until the war ended. This is where Nanny and Grandpa met – during their time working at the farm (I say farm, as it wasn’t a concentration camp, but they were prisoners there.)
There is so much to their story that I’ll never know, but I have a keen interest in the events of WWII because of their experiences. Years ago, I read the graphic novel Maus written by Art Spiegelman and it was like I was listening to Grandpa telling his stories. I felt like Art had interviewed my grandparents and had written a book about them, and it gave me a new insight into their lives during that time.
So when my friend gave me The Book Thief to read on my holiday in October, I knew I was going to love it. And boy did I ever. I finished it last week and I already miss the characters and their stories. I would even go so far as to say it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. The writing is so compelling and the short chapters made it easy to keep my sleep-deprived attention. It’s one of those books that you can’t put down but you don’t want to finish because the magic will be over. (I have an antenatal appointment today which will no doubt mean lots of waiting around, and I’m sad that I won’t have my book to pass the time.)
It’s really re-awakened my interest in that time in history, and I’m now on the look out for another book written about WWII. If anyone has any suggestions, flick them my way! I have also read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which was a real heart-breaker. I saw the film shortly after and thought they did an absolutely brilliant job with it. I do want to watch The Book Thief as well, but Hubs wants to read the book first. Lucky he’s a much faster reader than I!
I also remember watching the movie Life is Beautiful no long after it came out (20 years ago??!!) and I still remember it had a huge impact on me at the time. Anyway, suggestions anyone?
Loved The Book Thief and it was made into a great movie that did justice to the novel. Yes, definitely read the book first as there is so much more detail in it that, for obvious reasons, had to be glossed over in the movie. When I finish a good book that has captured my attention for a while, I go through a kind of grief – a separation from that which was enjoyable and I miss the characters.
Also loved Life is Beautiful – seared into memory it was so good. The movie was brilliant and I will never forget Roberto Benigni’s comments when he accepted the Academy Award: “I’d like to thank my parents for giving me the greatest gift of all – poverty!”
Have you read “Shindler’s List”? “Diary of Ann Frank” – I was recently at the house where Ann and her family hid from the Nazis – very moving.