I seem to be on a bit of an unplanned WWII novel kick this year as I read two more WWII this month alone (Lilac Girls and All the Light We Cannot See). I picked up another Fredrik Backman book (I read his book, “A Man Called Ove” back in March and LOVED it), this time I read his book “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry”. I read a random YA novel that I was intrigued by the last time I walked into Barnes & Nobles (a dangerous place for me to wander into haha), and the last book I read was Sr. Miriam’s book “Loved as I Am”.
This New York Times Bestseller covers the story of three different women during WWII. One is a liaison to the French consulate in NYC, another is a Polish teenager who ends up in a concentration camp after being caught working for the underground resistance movement and the third is a German doctor who answers an an ad for a government medical position and ends up caught up in the world of the Nazi’s twisted world. When I first finished the book, I actually didn’t like it very much because I found it rather depressing, especially the story of the German doctor. However, when I realized that the author based all three main characters on three true stories, the whole book took a different light and I wish I had known that it was all based on true stories when I first read it. Knowing that, it makes it more important to read, even though it’s difficult.
All the Light We Cannot See
My second WWII book of the month is another New York Times Bestseller and it was recommended to me by multiple friends recently. It is a beautifully written novel and deeply moving as it highlights the ways that people chose to the good despite all the evil around them. Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six and has never been outside her Paris neighborhood and her entire world is turned upside down when Paris is invaded by the Nazi’s and she and her father take refuge in a walled city by the sea. Werner is a German orphan with a love for radios and a mind for electronics and engineering who’s life takes a different turn when the Hitler Youth take notice of and advantage of his potential. I think it was my favorite book I read this month and the one I most highly recommend.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
I read Fredrik Bakman’s book “A Man Called Ove” a few months ago and LOVED it so I was excited to try another one of his books. Unfortunately, this one did not live up to my expectations and was not nearly as good as A Man Called Ove. Written from the perspective of seven-year-old Elsa, it was just a little too confusing and vague for me to ever be truly grabbed by the story. I had to pull teeth a little to make myself finish the novel. I kept hoping I would reach a point where all the dots would come together and it would all be worth it, but it just didn’t happen.
Loved as I Am
I technically started this book in June, but I finally finished it in July. Although it’s the shortest book by far that I read this month, it took me so long because I only read a few pages at a time to truly soak in all of Sr. Miriam James’ goodness. I had already heard her testimony through listening to many of her talks and her podcast “Abiding Together“, but I still loved her book and I highly recommend it!
The Thousandth Floor
I almost didn’t include this book in this post because I disliked it so much. But I felt I should include it to warn you all against wasting your time on this one. The cover and back of this book caught my attention when I was in Barnes and Nobles in June and I found a used copy for a few dollars on thrift books so I added it to my cart. This book is set 100 years in the future in NYC in a gigantic futuristic 1000 story skyscraper that is basically a city in and of itself. While the idea of this futuristic city-scraper is interesting, the story itself is just downright depressing. It follows the lives of five teenagers who live on various levels of this skyscraper and their entire lives revolve around materialistic and hedonistic pleasure. There is no good moral of the story and nothing even hopeful to get out of it. These five teenagers have nothing to live for except their own pleasure and entertainment and it’s a depressing and self-centered as it sounds.