Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 479 (paperback)

Back Cover:

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II.  Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota.  Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer.  Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the heartbreaking story of her mother's life.  Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

My Rating:

This story oscillates between the stories of Anna Schlemmer and her daughter Trudy.  Anna does the unthinkable and violates one of the Reich's biggest prohibitions.  The resulting pregnancy thrusts Anna into a world where Anna must only think of survival.  Trudy, in a world far removed from World War II, knows nothing of her mother's past and doesn't understand why she can't surpass her mother's wall of silence.

If you are looking for a story that you can disappear into, this is the story for you.  Both women are intensely affected by the effects of the war even though the women are worlds apart.  Anna manages to survive despite various ethical dilemmas, pain, and struggles with her own identity.  She wants to forget the past, whereas, her daughter needs the past for her own identity.  Very few authors manage to create a story about an era of such heartbreak and still leave the reader enthralled and wanting more.  It is deep without being too heavy or depressing.  Once you start you won't want to put it down.  After this book, you will go searching for more!
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  1. A good read but honestly this kept me up at night. Reading about something very real in our world and so gritty- reliving rape over and over and the heart break of a love one being starved and killed is very hard. Then, seeing how one's actions translate to one's children is hard. The parts of present day of her daughter are a bit drawn out but almost need to be to allow you to rest from the dramatically real times of Anna. I am not the best with writing but I do get distracted by typos and the like and in the ebook version there were plenty of them.

    1. It was definitely a gritty read. I would be annoyed with typos and such but luckily I had the print version.


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