my challenges

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruth Sepetys.

This fascinating, haunting, horrifying book begins with what must be one of the most incredible and irresistible first lines ever:  "They took me in my nightgown."  I dare anyone to read that first line and not be compelled to keep reading to find out who "they" are, where they took the protagonist, and why they took her in her nightgown.

The book focuses on an event that, horrifyingly given its massive scale and the length of time it went on, I had never realized had even occurred:  The mass repatriation and genocide of the Balkan peoples by the Soviets following the Soviet Union's usurpation of the Balkan States.  I was shocked to my very core by the utter lack of humanity portrayed, though I don't doubt that it is mostly, if not entirely, true to life in the type of treatment that was meted out to those being persecuted.  I could hardly bear to read of the events, yet couldn't put the book down, needing to know what happened to these people that, despite their very human faults, I quickly came to care about deeply.  This is an important book for the story it tells, of which too few people are aware.  I highly recommend this book, but recommend you take along a well-stocked box of tissues as your reading companion on this journey to Siberia.  5 out of 5.

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