I will say that Historical Fiction is usually my least favorite genre of literature, so much to my surprise as I could not put this book down! In having read various texts centered around the Holocaust, I was hoping that I would learn something new after having read this one, and I must say that I really seemed to notice the fight and struggle that the main character was having. The way the author wrote, I felt as if I was going through the same emotions as our main character, Yanek, as he was forced into numerous concentration camps. The author doesn’t waste any time and wrote in a way that at times seemed almost brief. But you come to realize that this young boy didn’t have time, energy, or the drive to stop and dwell on the hardships that surrounded him, which mirrored similar strategies that the author used throughout.
One part that was really powerful about a half-way through the book was when Yanek’s thought, “I started to cry, the first tears I had shed. Why had I worked so hard so survive if it was always going to end like this? If I had known, I wouldn’t have bothered. I would have let them kill me back in the ghetto. It would have been easier that way. All that I had done was for nothing” (126-7). You really get the sense of his helplessness and lose of hope. You’ll have to read this fast-paced novel to see if Yanek’s hope, or lack thereof, can pull him through the toughest struggles anyone could be asked to endure.