Friday, December 12, 2014
Between Shades of Grey - Ruta Sepetys
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at great risk - documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (Summary from back of the book and image from readmanybooks.blogspot.com)
My Review: Please know that this is NOTHING like 50 Shades of Grey. I've never read 50 Shades, and have no intention of doing so. But, this book is totally worth the read. Before reading this book, I had no idea the crimes committed by the Russians against the Lithuanians. WWII is filled with horrifying stories of the human race hurting each other, and this is no exception. Told from the perspective of a teenage girl, you get to see her lose her home, her life, her identity, her future as she knows it, and embark on what must have felt like the longest, most brutal journey of her life. Death, starvation, sub-zero temperatures, back-breaking work, and no seeming end to the misery shape what Lina endures. The mix of portrayals of between the other prisoners, guards, and children create a complex tapestry of human experiences during war times.
My only complaint, which probably shouldn't be called that, is that the story seemed slow, long, drawn-out if you will. But, this was probably purposeful. That's how it felt to Lina. And that's how I'm sure Sepetys meant for the reader to feel. Because that's how it was for those enduring the time they spent in Russia. Written in a more simplistic voice, any young reader could get through this book. It's a fascinating perspective of another WWII experience. I'm so grateful Sepetys took the time to research the information considering the gag-order that was placed upon those who lived it.
I highly recommend this book!
For the sensitive reader: Some more mature themes mentioned, but nothing that would prevent me from handing it to a high school student or mature middle school student.
Rating: 4 stars
Sum it up: Take WWII, jump into Russia, and see what was happening to an entire nation while people were distracted by the atrocities committed by the Germans.