Audie Award Winner, Biography and Memoir, 2013
Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.
©1999 Sara Tuvel Bernstein (P)2011 Tantor
"There are many recent accounts of Holocaust victims, but this work stands alone as a testimony to personal strength and an independent spirit." (Library Journal)
Well written and interesting story about WWII in Yugoslavia and Hungry. At times narrator was hard to understand ( I listen in the car)
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
I love books that are written in first person. Not long after you start listening you feel one with the author. The simplicity and matter of fact analysis of the author's account seem simple at first, yet are very rich and profound, once you think about them.
There was no particular moment I would pick, but the way Sara handled and acted in different situations was remarkable, somewhat unexpected, witty and shaped and saved some of the lives of those that met her.
I got this book on sale, but it's worth a credit. Yes, it is a Holocaust story, but what I liked most about it was that Sara did not seem bitter and hateful. She ended up being the master of her destiny - in a worldly sense.
I enjoyed this very much. The narration and story immerse you in another, different world. It is hard to fathom how difficult life was when this story developed, but the authors place you there through their details of the smaller, and the larger, picture.
Not as a true story. This story is too contrived. Overall it's a good emotionally charged read. I just don't believe it as an actual account. I can't find anything about Sara Tuvel Bernstein except as it refers to this book.
Just call it what it is - FICTION! I don't doubt that Ms. Bernstein suffered some oppression at the hands of the Nazi's. I just don't believe that she was the only survivor among millions to have the kind of resolve - and luck - that she claims in this book.
Wanda McCaddon is masterful as always.
Only if you think of it as either fiction or a historical account in which the author has taken considerable literary license. The story IS moving and inspiring - it's just not believable.
I've read all of the reviews both here and on Amazon.com. Only one other reviewer feels like I do. I know I'm going to take a lot of flack for this, but I wish someone had given me a less emotional review of this book. I'm black and I'm used to Jewish friends claiming to "understand the pain of slavery". Well, no! "Your blues ain't like my blues"! But I always read books about Holocaust survivors out of respect for THEIR plight. However, there was something just not right about this account. Sara seemed to always have the answer or solution to some really horrific situations while her reaction to the deaths of her family members, one by one, was like "Ho hum!" I just didn't believe that one person in millions had the survivor instincts that this writer claimed to possess. It's easy to say you've done this and that when there's no one to refute your assertions.
The story is well-written and well narrated. But when you "pull the seams apart", it just doesn't fit. There's no way to fact-check the claims of the author. Plus, she was only in that concentration camp for a few months right before the war ended. I found her account of her early life and the years leading up to her so-called "arrest" much more interesting. Living like a hunted animal with no country to call "home" had to be awful. It's when she gets to the camp and on the trains that the story falls apart. Who can go WEEKS without water while doing back-breaking work? Or eight days without food or water packed into a boxcar like sardines? One minute everyone is freezing to death inside the boxcar, then in the same week, the train is sweltering from the weather outside. While the first 75% of the book tells an interesting account, the last becomes overly dramatic and predictable. And, again, I found Sara's total apathy towards the death of her family and camp friends bordering on sociopathic. Why? Because nobody died like she claims.
Notice that Sara is the only person who repeatedly manages to "save the day" by stealing, smuggling, or hiding enough food for her companions. Under those severe and harrowing circumstances, I know I wouldn't take up with a bunch of losers who never bring anything to the table to help in the survival of the group. When Sara is given a lice-ridden coat in the camp-wide clothing swap, she somehow gets one full of paper money hidden in the lining! And she just happened to have squirreled away a needle and thread in the tightly secured camp so she can rip up the lining to get the money, then sew it back up expertly. Really? As if all of those SS guards were too stupid to notice that the already thin garment just might be a little heavy or bulky! Then she and her friends used the money for TOILET PAPER for several weeks but, again, no one in the camp, prisoners included, noticed them "Benjamins" in the crapper! You haven't wiped your butt in months and that's all you could think to do with a large amount of money? C'mon!
What I DO believe is that some opportunistic writers saw a KERNEL of a good book after meeting a Holocaust survivor, likely in her dotage. I thought this book would be a first-hand account by an actual survivor who had gone through one horrific act after another during World War II as a Jew in occupied Europe. It turned out to be a compilation of everything that could happen to several people in a "perfect storm" of terror and persecution. Kind of like "Forrest Gump Meets The Fuhrer"! There's something that just didn't pass the "smell test" for me. I almost didn't write a review because I knew others would be upset with my reaction to this book or they would say, being black, I just don't understand the plight of Jewish people. That's absolutely not true. I sympathize and empathize with the hatred endured by Jews THROUGHOUT the history of the world. How could I not when my own ancestors were oppressed, murdered, beaten, lynched, and raped for centuries as recently as the 21st century? Here, I'll just have to take the hit because I'm calling "a spade a spade" - Sara is "shoveling" it a bit deep!
Captivating, educational, emotional
Warm family scenesBrutality of her guardsDefying all odds to survive
One of the best I've heardAccent was engaging, endearing and believable Strength in her performance perfectly portrayed her character
Risking her life in the Raven-brook kitchen, at the spur of the moment, stealing potatoes for others
No other audible book has so moved and impacted me personally. Painful to listen to at times but gave me a new awareness of the barbaric conditions innocents endured at the hands of the Nazis.
You must read this. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
I'm interested in WWII books with a human interest angle, like The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. While Ms. Hannah's was historical fiction, The Seamstress was non-fiction. Seren (Sarah) Tuvel was taken prisoner by the Germans during the Holocaust. It is a powerful story that everyone should read.
A beautifully written and mesmerizing account of an exceptionally brave and determined woman who refused to accept defeat amidst incomprehensible treatment, circumstance, and death.
With so many books written on the subject, it is nice to actually read one that has some pre-World War II background to it. While historically significant it is also a great human story well worth the read
Enjoyed every minute of this book. Have a deep respect and admiration for such intelligent, resourceful woman. Would have loved to meet her. Highly recommended this book. Eye opening!
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