Author: Tatiana De Rosnay
Synopsis (from bn.com):
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard—their secret hiding place—and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.
Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future.
In Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay offers up a mesmerizing story in which a tragic past unfolds, the present is torn apart, and the future is irrevocably altered.
My thoughts: This was my book club’s October selection . . . and again I am so glad that it was! This is book completely outside of my normal reading genre and I am thankful that my book club chose it, because I really loved it.
Without rehashing the entire plot, which you can clearly read from the synopsis above, this is no doubt a very difficult book to read due its primary subject matter of the Holocaust. That in fact is one thing that I loved about it. I loved that this book and it’s topic made me uncomfortable . . . I love that it made me think every step of the way . . . I love that it made me ask myself some questions . . . I love that it made me think deep . . I love that it made me draw parallels between the Holocaust and some of the tragedies we are dealing with today.
As I was delving into this book, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Why did the Holocaust happen? How did people think it was alright to do this to human beings? Have we really learned from this event or are we on a lesser scale repeating some of the same mistakes today?
This book is written in the style where every chapter jumps back and forth from the past (Sarah’s experience in the holocaust) to present day (the journalist’s journey into Sarah’s story). I normally do not like this style of writing, however in this case I really felt it did the book justice. this style really allowed the reader to get the true juxtaposition and striking difference between the life of a Jewish child during the Holocaust and the life of a journalist.
Although certainly not a completely historically accurate account of the French roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942, this book did teach me a great deal and made me explore and research the event even more.
As much as I loved the book, I did have a couple of things that I wish were a bit different. I wish the author would have delved more deeply into Sarah’s life rather than focusing so much attention on the journalist and her troubled, strained relationship with her French husband. I feel this focus cheapened the deep emotional experience of the book a bit by turning it almost into a love story rather than an account of the powerful experience.
I must say that my book club had one of the best discussions we have ever had on this particular book. We have a number of Jewish individuals attending the book club and I was so blessed that they shared their personal family experiences with the Holocaust and offered their knowledge and life experiences. It really deepened not only the discussion, but my knowledge of the Holocaust. Sarah’s Key touches upon many themes including hope, resilience, good vs. evil, secrets, humanity!
All in all, if a person takes one kernel away from this book it is – to never forget!
Do yourself a favor and allow yourself to delve into this book and do some thinking.
Books Are Life,