Member Since 2013
What a fantastic ending! I'm still in shock, and a good, amazed one.
I absolutely loved this story, so poignant, so sweet (okay, maybe bitter-sweet here and there) so inspiring. I'm so happy for reading this book, the ending was just perfect.
The audible edition is superb. I was sure Judith West was in fact an old lady, the way she narrated it all the way like Ella herself, but when she said "This is Judith West, we hope you've enjoyed..." I was taken aback! Her voice is young! How did she managed to read an entire book sounding like an 80 year old woman is beyond me. This is talent, I tell you that!
Oh my, what a disappointment... WWII is a subject I've been interested in for a while, so I've read and watched a lot of books, movies and documentaries about it. Every time a new book about the war is released, I'm looking forward to reading it, especially if it's about Poland. That book, unfortunately, was not well researched, and has lots of incongruities.
WARNING: Some Spoilers ahead:
For starts, it's never explained how the puppet boy and the soldiers communicate--in which language? German soldiers didn't usually--if at any point--spoke Polish then, and not many Polish people were German fluently. Those are very different languages, and this is a matter frequently treated in WWII literature (in The Storyteller, for example, the Jewish girl who is German fluent is a kind of a wonder exactly by that reason). If Mika spoke German, that should've been explained at some point.
Besides, I can't bring myself to believe that puppets would enchant so many people, including SS soldiers. It seems like too much to ask as suspended disbelief is concerned... But even if I could, the idea of someone caring a small child inside a coat to a bar full of SS soldiers, and after finally being able to transfer her to other people, go back to give her a puppet as a souvenir is beyond my accepting abilities... If not for the safety of the moment, I would think it wasn't a good idea because if he was so famous for his puppets, in the chance the child and the caretaker were caught, the puppet would give him away, right?
Plus, how would Jewish BOYS be mistaken for Arian ones? The circumcision is noticeable, and was done even during the war. So if it was just ONE boy that wasn't circumcised, okay, but Mika mentions several boys...
I couldn't find any reason for his cousin to stay in the ghetto when he escapes, or for him not to stay with her if he loved her so much. (Let's try to forget the fact they're were first cousins ugh!)
Even worse is the part after the end of the war, when the Soviets are painted as freedom heroes, instead of another bunch of invaders who made life in Poland still horrible for decades after the end of the war. As it seems by this book, Stalin soldiers made Poland free, comfort the population, gave them monuments as gifts and punished the Germans as they deserved. It really wasn't like that. The Russian years are remembered as a terrible time in Poland.
And all Max's Odyssey, taking almost as many years as Ulysses to come back home after the war didn't convinced me and wasn't all that explained.
I realize my review is not with the majority and I may seem harsh, but I expected more and I think this could have being a good book.
The narration was very good, though, and made me finish the book.
5 stars are not even remotely enough to this masterpiece. It deserved at least a thousand stars. It's real, it's well written, it's nasty, it's challenging, it's moving, it's beautiful, it's ugly. Just like real life.
There's no attempt to sugarcoat the horrific reality of abuse, and, more important, it shows what happens to the abused. I know it because I've been there. It's just like that; you're never far enough. You have to decide, to learn, each day, how to not repeat the pattern, how not to become the abuser, how not try to justify your actions based on the abuse you suffered. And, most important of all, you will fail. Sometimes, at least, you will see yourself through other people's eyes, and you'll see you're scaring them. You'll just want to die a little realizing you're behaving just like your abuser. You'll be a bastard sometimes, or, if you're lucky and strong enough, maybe just once. But the doubt is a shadow always walking by your side.
At some level, it's actually good, because it will make you so self aware, so wanting to be good, that you'll try harder. And eventually you'll learn, and find your own way to control the beast, to be calm, to be 'normal'. And, perhaps, to see that you are not him/her. You can be different, you can live a different life.
At each minute of this incredible book, I was seeing myself, my past, the person I've become. It was like therapy, good, exhilarating therapy. And the audiobook is amazingly narrated. I absolutely LOVED this story. It's in my top 5 of all times, and certainly will be listened too again, at least parts of it, from time to time. I guess I'll need it.
Thank you so much, Ms. Avasthi. I'll be looking forward to read your next book.
Oh my God, I never thought I could fall in love so much for a character and for a story. Pat Peoples is my all time favorite character in the whole world.
He's such a good, incredibly nice guy. He's trying so hard to be nice, (instead of right), and to do all the things he believes are going to lead him to his happy ending, always trying to see the silver linings...
Being mentally ill made him a lot better. One can wonder if all our concepts of being 'normal' and 'stable' are all that correct after reading The Silver Linings Playbook.
Pat Peoples, I've learned so much from you... I'm sure going to miss you, my friend!
The Audible edition is absolutely perfect. Ray Porter delivers it incredibly well, and even though I loved, absolutely loved the ending, I'm really sad it ended!
Oh my, what a book! This story is so absurdly well written, well told, well constructed and well read that I cannot remember anything better.
Really, I can't imagine how my commute will happen tomorrow without Baba Yaga's and Anielica's company. It's hurting me not to have them anymore in my ears all the time.
I've said before--Cassandra Campbell is amazing, but she outdone herself here. This is a work of art! There were moments I wasn't sure if my eyes were welling up because of the story, because of Campbell's reading, or both. Poland has such a beautiful and sad story, I now want to know more about that country.
Thank you, Brigid Pasulka for writing this masterpiece, and thank you, Cassandra Campbell for narrating it so perfectly!
A wonderful, beautifully written sad and compelling story, almost ruined, IMHO, by the end. It simply didn't add to the character, I think, and left a bitter taste in my mouth...
Still, I loved the journey. The audio edition is excellent, with several narrators.
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