Friday, August 12, 2011

Retro Friday Review: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc."
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Publisher: Various
Publication date: 1971
ISBN: 0912376015
Source: Library, for book group

Hiding PlaceTHE HIDING PLACEThe Hiding Place (Hendrickson Classic Biographies)

This is the true story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family, who become the center of an underground resistance in Holland during WWII.  When Corrie and her family are discovered, they are sent to prison.  Facing deprivations and transfer to a concentration camp, Corrie and he sister Betsie find beauty and bring religion to the people they meet.

Things I Liked:
What an absolutely inspiring story!  This book has the power to change people's lives and even better, their behavior.  I was entranced with Corrie's family - the descriptions of the daily things her father and sisters would do and say just exemplify a Christian lifestyle.  I loved the genuinely honest comments Corrie makes about herself and her little weaknesses.  She seems so willing to recognize her mistakes and to praise the strengths of others that you begin to see just how truly good she is as well.  Towards the end, when they are in the concentration camp, the scenes of utter despair and horror are so powerfully juxtaposed to the sisters' devoted and hallowed attitudes that I have no ability to describe my own feelings about it.  This book will make you so grateful for the many conveniences you enjoy and it will (hopefully) help you to see the good in every difficult situation you face.  An amazing account of sincerely religious and happy everyday people who were able to overcome the tragedies in their lives through faith in God.  Just a few of the many places I marked in the book.

Mama's love had always been the kind that acted itself out with soup pot and sewing basket.  But now that these things were taken away, the love seemed as whole as before.  She sat in her chair at the window and loved us.  She loved the peple she saw in the street - and beyond: her love took in the city, the land of Holland, the world.  And so I learned that love is larger than the walls which hut it in.  p 48
Back in the dining room I pulled back the coverlet from the baby's face.  There was a long silence.  The man bent forward, his hand in spite of himself reaching for the tiny fist curled round the blanket.  For a moment I saw compassion and fear struggle in his face.  Then he straightened.  "No. Definitely not.  We could lose our lives for that Jewish child!"  Unseen by either of us, Father had appeared in the doorway.  "give the child to me, Corrie," he said....  "You say we could lose our lives for this child.  I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to my family." p 99
Once again we considered stopping the work.  Once again we discovered we could not.  That night Father and Betsie and I prayed long after the others had gone to bed.  We knew that in spite of daily mounting risks we had no choice but to move forward.  This was evil's hour; we could not run away from it.  Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God's power along be free to work.  p 123
But as the rest of the world grew stranger, one thing became increasingly clear.  And that was the reason the two of us were here.  Why others should suffer we were not shown.  As for us, from morning until lights-out, whenever we were not in ranks for roll call, our Bible was the center of an ever-widening circle of help and hope.  Life waifs clustered around a blazing fire, we gathered about it, holding out our hearts to its warmth and light.  The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God.  p 194
And as the cold increased, so did the special temptation of concentration-camp life: the temptation to think only of oneself.  It took a thousand cunning forms.  I quickly discovered that when I maneuvered our way toward the middle of the roll-call formation, we had a little protection from the wind  I knew this was self-centered: when Betsie and I stood in the center, someone else had to stand on the edge.  How easy it was to give it other names!  I was acting only for Betsie's sake.  We were in an important ministry and must keep well.  It was colder in Poland than in Holland; these Polish women probably were not feeling the chill the way we were.  Selfishness had a life of its own. p 213
"...must tell people what we have learned here.  We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that HE is not deeper still.  They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here." p 217
Things I Didn't Like:
Honestly, while the writing may not have been amazing, I didn't even notice most of the time, because the story is so engrossing and powerful.  I encourage every person to read this book, no matter their religion or beliefs.


Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Night by Elie Wiesel

s-factor: !
probably one or two 

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->->->
not exactly violence, but the cruelties of concentration camps are described

Overall rating: *****

Anybody else inspired by this memoir?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I have such a block against this book. It's probably cause I don't like Holocaust stories (too sad) but I just don't think I could handle it.

  2. Jenny, oh I can understand. If you ever do read one, though, this one has the most hopeful and positive feeling of any I've read.


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