Friday, October 8, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Friday Farrago Book Review -Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
(historical fiction)

First, everyone loved the book with the exception of one "like". Being part of a book club is great in that you read books you may not normally read. And when you love to read like I do, but usually have 100 reasons why you can' makes you read. Choosing what book to read sometimes is hard. You want everyone to like it, you hope it sparks great conversation. I am happy to report this one did.

Briefly, the book is set in "Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Fast forward to Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life."

The format of the book is where one chapter is about Sarah and the next is about Julia. I think that worked really well in the telling of this story. The chapters about Sarah were so heart wrenching as I learned about the Roundup (which I and most of my book club pals didn't know about) I needed to "get back" to the next current day chapter to remove myself from Sarah's pain. Most of us said we cried while reading this book. I know I did. 

I enjoy historical fiction novels that are well written since I can get into the story and learn something at the same time. I really think this is a better way to teach children about history, get them to relate with a character that lived during the time they are studying about, rather than boring lists of statistics and dates. I know had I read a book like this in high school I would have paid attention.

Overall, I learned a lot about Nazi occupied France. It made me think about what I would do had I been a French Christian mother then. Would I have helped these people, these children? Would I have been so scared for my own family that I kept quiet and hid my head like so many people did? I don't know. I would like to think I would have been brave like the Polish couple that took Sarah and her friend in and hid them. But even reading that part of the book made me so scared for them as much as for Sarah. So all in all good book club choice. If you and your group decide to read it you may want to use these questions.

I'm giving it 5 wine glasses*. (oh stop you know we drink wine at book club!!!)


*1. Good book club book
*2 Good discussion
*3 Stayed with me after I read it
*4 Most or all of the group liked it
*5 Would recommend it


msprimadonna67 said...

Sounds like a great book--I'll have to add it to my list. Thanks for the review!

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