To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. I had never heard of this author. In fact, I only picked up the book because one of my friends told me. I only finally read it because another friend wanted to read it after I was done. *laugh* But wow. This was so well written. The story is so sad, a little scary even. It's all fiction, but we all know that the Holocaust was very real, and that stuff like this happened every single day. This story grabbed me from the very first page. I found myself deliberately slowing down my reading so I could catch every word.
There are many disturbing parts to this book. Don't mistake this for a children's book. It's not ;) Also, be prepared to hate it, to wince, to cry and to even laugh a little.
**WARNING SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW**
**WARNING SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW**
**WARNING SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW**
I like that throughout this book, with all the deaths, with all the strife, we got to see a happy ending. But it was so bittersweet, so very bittersweet. When the children went into a soup kitchen and were picking up the crumbs off of the floor I just bawled. I totally didn't see the dad being there coming at all. I think the pre-ending with the Oberfurhur was not needed, to be honest. One of the most memorable chapters for me was Magna's trip to the camp and following her death. We all know what happened to those people, we know it, deep in the back of our heads, but sometimes I think we need a reminder, as sick as that sounds. I think we sometimes forget that stuff like this can, and does, happen. One man's insanity caused not only a war, but the murder of many many thousands of people.
This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. The story takes place during World War II. A father leaves his children in a deep forest so they will not be discovered by the Germans. He joins a resistance group, and the children are taken in by an old woman that lives on the outside of the village. So many things happen in the book, and I don't want to give anything away. While reading the book, all I wanted to do was pick up the children and hold them. It was hard to read the book at times because of what was being described about what was going on. There are a lot of shootings that are described in great detail in the book. If you have a problem with books that aren't exactly innocent or are particularly gruesome, you may not want to read this book. This book kind of reminded me of the movie Schindler's List. The story lines are not the same, but the descriptions of the era are basically the same. I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who is intrigued by World War II.
A twist on the tale of Hansel & Gretel but set during the tragic times of WWII. It's a wrenching story of two children trying to survive against incredible odds. The story is sad, inspiring and emotional.
An excellently written story that seamlessly weaves the traditional Hansel and Gretel story within the horrors of Nazi Germany/Poland.
Murphy writes with enough detail to bring the characters to life and pull you into the story yet not so explicit that older children(young adult readers) or sensitive readers should avoid it.
A must read......
I love this book! The atrocities and horrors of a Nazi war-torn country are covered on a personal level in the experience of the characters without being too much for the reader to bear. Hansel and Gretel are a big sister and little brother looking out for each other and surviving against the odds. It is cleverly spun and I read to the end in the wee hours on a stormy night because I could not put it down. A breathtaking journey! The opening page reads:
Caught between green earth and blue sky, only truth kept me sane, but now lies disturb my peace. The story has been told over and over by liars and it must be retold. Do not struggle when the hook of a word pulls you into the air of truth and you cannot breathe.
For a little while, I ask this of you.
Come with me.
Picked this up thinking it was written for young adults, but the horrors described are not something my 15 year old wanted to read about despite her extensive study of true stories of the Holocaust and visits to Dachau, Ann Frank's home, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps .
An interesting interpretation that works an explanation for Grimms' tale into a realistic tale of a Polish Jewish couple trying to keep their son and daughter alive til the Russians can "save" Poland. This book gives an extensive look at how even Christians (Catholics) were tormented by the Nazis based upon their belief that the Poles were "beneath" them as a people. The story also follows a band of partisans made up of different enemies of the Germans, showing how they managed to survive in the midst of Nazi-occupied territory.
This book was difficult to read because of the subject matter. The horror of how innocent people were mistreated and killed is made very real by this writer. What made the story more disturbing is that we know these things are still going on in different parts of the world. This book makes it personal, especially at the end with what happened to Magda. I could hardly bear to read it. I'm not so sure the ending is happy. The book does not leave you happy.
My Rating: A+
First a warning. This book will not make you smile often. But when it does it will really come from the deepest part of you.
I was warned that this book was 'harsh' before I picked it up. Harsh is a word for it. The author does not shy away from the atrocities that happened during this time, but also wrote this book more about the characters than the war. The war is just one thing that is happening to them.
I fell in love with the characters in this book quickly, and give kudos to Murphy for writing 'bad' guys with a human side that pushes you too close to feeling for them for comfort, but not enough to make you feel guilty.
I highly recommend this book, not just for those that are interested in this era, but for all people.
If you're looking for a light read, move on. A very creative twist on a popular children's fable. It left me thinking long after the last page was turned, and is definitely one of the best books i have ever read.
The characters are very well developed and rich. And not everyone is what they first seem to be.
This book does an amazing job of describing the horrors of war as seen by ordinary people caught in the middle. And weaving in the Hansel and Gretel story was a neat touch.
I read this story awhile ago and I thought I reviewed it. I like to express my opinion of books and this one was exceptional. It was non stop reading, very engrossing and compelling, and I thought about this book for a long time after I finished.
During World War II Polish Jewish people throughout the country flee and hide from the Nazis. In this scenario, a father, his children, and their stepmother are driving down a road with Nazi policemen following. Searching for a curve where he can stop to let the children so he and his wife can lure the Nazis away he finally finds just that. The children are told their names are Hansel and Gretel and they run into the forest while father and stepmother speed away. From there the tale is similar to the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel that we all know. The children encounter an old woman who takes them in and believing that she knows their heritage hides them. Of course, many in the village call her a witch.
Their lives are perilous as they strive to survive while the parents join the resistance. It's a sad, sad story in many ways and they face many crises and problems. The only portion that seemed inappropriate to me was when the old woman hides the children in a hot oven. To say more would divulge too much of this tale. My advice is to read it for yourself and make your own judgement. It's well written.
I really thought this book would be a lame attempt at a Hansel & Gretel "remake". I was really surprised at how well the author presented her version of the classic tale. Not a light and airy fairy tale, but a much darker tale of survival. The characters in the classic version are here, they just are not what you think. I really enjoyed this book.
Very descriptive and moving story of the Holocaust as retold in the fairy tale archaetype.
I almost don't want to part with this.
I'm only reposting it because I think this is just one of those books that MUST be read. It doesn't need to spend the next few years sitting on my shelf.
The author took the most horrific time in our history and made it real to me again by making it a fairy tale.
Truely a wonderful story in every way.
Hard to read, for sure... but wonderful none-the-less.
This was such a wonderful WWII story, one of my favorites. As harsh as the story was, I could not put it down. It reminded me of A Year of Wonders, sad and horrible, yet beautiful at the same time. And the ties to the fairy tale were very creative.
I never finished this book. Once I got to the graphic rape scene, I quite (1/2 way through?). If a writer wants you to know that some evil has happened, that is fine, but please don't fill my brain with images that are hard to erase.
Also, there is a lot of language in it and I don't appreciate that.
The writer does a great job with plot and introducing you to characters, so I wish that it was a book that I had enjoyed.
Excellent story of 2 Jewish children trying to survive in the Polish forest during WWII. The supporting characters also have depth and personality. There are many surprises, as many characters act/react in an unpredictable way.
A bit of a history lesson, also.
I highly recommend.
This was a wonderful bittersweet tale that echoed the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. The choices that the characters in this book have to make made me especially grateful that I did not have to live through this war. It is well written, but not for the faint of heart.
I will never, ever think of the story of Hansel and Gretel the same way again. Ever.
A heartbreaking story of two Jewish children in Nazi controlled Poland during WWII, the "witch" who took them in and their struggle to stay alive.
Highly recommend this book.
This is the best book I've read in years.
Another story of survival during WWII, I have read many of these before, and many with children. This one struck me more than the others. To say I enjoyed it sounds wrong, because it's not an 'enjoyable' subject. It is however a subject we need to read about and remember, however sad. Not just an historical story, but a story of the human spirit.
A thought provoking retelling of the fairy tale set in WWII Germany.
Fascinating & very disturbing! I couldn't put it down!
Hauntingly beautiful and very disturbing in the re-telling of a Grimm fairy tale. A story you won't forget and will think about for a long time. As with any kind of story associated with the Holocaust the disturbing scenes are part of the overall story and need to be understood as such.
A disturbing and shameful time in history. This may or may not be your kind of story.
I liked this book a lot. A quick read. I recommend to anyone interested in Holocaust stories and even those that aren't.
I didn't get past about page 30 (and I usually hold myself to a 100-page minimum), which was disappointing because it'd seemed so promising. However, when the purpose of the dialogue was clearly just to fill in the reader about characters' pasts, I felt like I was watching a tv show (where the audience needs to be filled in or reminded after every commercial break)...and I was finished.
Interesting, thought provoking view of WWII Poland.
This is one of the top-ten most memorable books I've ever read. I loved it.
"A haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory. The "True Story of Hansel and Gretel" powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families, and especially by children, and tells a resonant story." SF Chronicle What an incredible book. I could not put it down, and it's a true story. I loved it!
The triumph of the good in people, and how innocence was able in the end to beat out evil. D.
Started it but could never get into it. It's supposed to be REALLY good so I'm setting it free for someone else to enjoy.
Not for children...I was so disappointed with the crude language in this book. We have been doing a WWII unit study for school and have read MANY holocaust books. THis is the worst one we have tried to read because of it's terribly gross language and description. It is not for children.
This is one of the books where it is well written for the topic. The story is set during World War II.
a haunting holocaust tale,a story of survival