April 29, 2011

Book Review: Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

"Sarah's Key"
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay

This story is about two arduous journeys one of a successful Boston-schooled American journalist and the other of a precocious loving French girl both converging onto one path.

Julia Jarmond was given an arbitrary writing assignment that would forever change her life, bridging two families that were unknowingly connected by a series of tragic events and raising an awareness to a part of French history that has been hushed and swept under the rug with closed eyes. While the young Sarah Starzynski, quickly learned that the star that she and other proud Jews wore on their chests were not widely loved or revered but hated turning her world upside down and forcing her into survival mode at such a young age.

The story began in the summer of 1942 during the German occupation of France - in particular Paris. In chapter one, you are in the midst of the French police seeking out Jewish families to relocate them to a nearby camp then later to Auschwitz in Germany to be murdered. Preceding this instance, many Jewish men - fathers, sons, uncles, brothers - went into hiding because after all they were only taking the men of the family to these camps. That was the initial thought and those rumours spread within Jewish communities in France. But, the "policy" changed instead entire families were taken away to be sent to their deaths. The particulars of the story of Starzynski family gave a face and, more importantly, a name to this reality that many Jewish families faced at that time and for Julia uncovering the facts that led up to the roundup of families in the scorching summer of 1942 was more than just another story for Julia, it was her duty to find a peaceful rest for the victims of this horrendous act of hate.

SR's Chante applauds the author for her compassionate approach to a story that we all knew the fate of the families but sought redemption for the victims that were permanently voiceless and a tribute to those that were fortunate to have escaped. What was also amazing was joining the separate paths of two families affected by the Holocaust in such an defining way.

>>Check out the trailer for the film version of this novel