Publication date: March 2011
Source: ARC from publisher
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.Things I Liked:
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.
This was such a unique view of WWII and something I know nothing about. It really never ceases to amaze me how horrible humanity can be and also how resilient humans can be. We can do such cruel things to one another and then justify it. We can also survive in such dreadful circumstances and some can even be so positive about it. It's at once heart-wrenching and hopeful to read such stories of survival. I wish I knew more about the Lithuanians who were taken from their homes and sent so far away. There is so much that people will never know about.
Things I Didn't Like:
I kind of expected this to blow me away, and I really was impressed and loved it, but I found it a bit more simplistic in style and a bit less gripping in story than I expected. Obviously, this is a fault of my own expectations. Still very much worth the read.
Reminded me of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
a very few
a little bit of implied stuff
there are some cruel things that happen
Overall rating: ****
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