Jaume Marco Marco itibaren Gangadipalem, Andhra Pradesh 522264, Hindistan
I am reading this book with my students Berkeley High. Not only is this "young adult" novel wonderfully funny it also addresses some pretty heavy topics--from alcoholism to dealing with loss of loved ones--in very accessible language.
The title is somewhat sensational. This is the story of a Jewish woman during WWII who spent time in work camps, then was able to adopt a false identity with the help of a friend, and ended up married to a man who was then drafted into Nazi officer service late in the war (he knew about her real identity before they married). Still, as the story develops, it is a fascinating read. A&E aired a special documentary on this story which I watched a few years ago. The book goes into much more detail than the documentary did. More importantly, the author writes as though she is talking to you ("...you see, that is what the people were being told..."), so you really understand not just the facts, but the motivations of people's actions at the time. This is probably the best depiction I have read regarding how average non-Jewish people managed to look the other way and live with themselves during the Holocaust.
Great idea for a book, but hardly a great book. Super title, but his brother came up with it. Will Fergusson can't stop imparting how clever he is long enough to tell you anything of substance about Canada, but, hey; this is a guy who tells you about himself in a history of Canada that someone asked him to write; a guy who wrote an article for the NY Times telling women what they should and shouldn't do in the bedroom. I'm sure they appreciated the tips. It'd be one thing if Ferguson's life were interesting, but if it is, he doesn't choose to relay the interesting parts. His dad was a character. Whose wasn't? He likes whiskey. Who cares? He likes women, too. Yes, it's difficult to find men who like women. Why did I pay $20.00 for this? Canadians need someone to remind them, or tell them outright, that they're not nearly as liberal, progressive, or dynamic as they think they are. The world doesn't want to immigrate there, no one cares if you've got a Maple Leaf stitched to your back pack, many Europeans don't know the first thing about it. Mordecai Richler used to do this, with intelligence and wit, but he's gone. Will Fergusson could have done it, because he gained perspective - what Canadians lack - by living abroad, but he pulls his punches knowing that it would be bad for business to start out of the gate criticizing the only audience he might ever have. The back-cover copy tells you Fergusson is out to challenge the notion that Canadians are "nice." But he doesn't really do that. He also wants to know: "Do we as Canadians deserve a country so geat?" But what does that mean? And what if we don't? And how do you measure? Country or nation? As a premise, this question is, quite frankly, dumb. And he doesn't answer it anyway. Rather, the book concludes with a description of some multi-cultural dance in, if I recall, Charlottetown, PEI, which he seems to think is just wonderful. One wonders what you can truly learn about a country's culture from observing a cultural performance. It's a bit like ending a critique of the United States by going to New York to see the Rockettes. Thin stuff.