Okay, so, first of all this book is one of the most quotable books I have ever read. I loved every second of it. The layers that Jodi Picoult has created with this book are flawless. You get the POV for four characters plus a short story written by one of the characters sprinkled on top. I am going to say that like The Pact this book took me to a dark place.
When I bought the book I didn't realize that the Holocaust would be such a big part of this book and the Holocaust alone gives me a heavy heart but to hear the story of a survivor hit it home for me. I realize the survivor is a fictional character but the things this character endured in the story are very real to actual survivors. The weight of loss or the past is very obvious in this book, each character has something weighing on them.
Sage carries the weight of her mothers death, Josef carries the weight of all he has seen, Minka carries her untold experiences and it seems that Leo carries the injustice of the Holocaust with him. Not only is it a weight on these characters but it's also an invisible scar, or in Sage's case a visible scar and reminder of the weight she carries everyday.
All that being said each of these characters deals with their grief differently Sage deals with it by being somewhat of an introvert, taking up with a married man who doesn't know her worth, avoiding the unknown and always trying to remain comfortable. Josef deals with his grief by working to become an outstanding citizen and working to be a good person now to make up for his past. Minka writes, but she disguises her truth in a Gothic fairy tale and Leo works night and day to right as many wrongs as he can.
Eventually Josef can't deal with his grief and seeks out Sage to assist him in a suicide. Sage struggles with this request for quite some time, even after she discovers that he was a Nazi solider. Initially she is torn between helping someone die or not killing someone. Once she finds out he was a Nazi solider the dilemma turns to a struggle of morals, on one hand she wants to kill someone who did horrible things in the past but on the other she doesn't want to stoop to the level of a Nazi. In the end after hearing her grandmothers story and making the connection between the two of them she helps Josef die but not before she tells him that she will never forgive him.
This story clearly had me thinking a lot; about grief, morals, desires and maybe most importantly actions.
★★★★★ out of 5
Lastly, I want to share some of the quotes from the book that stood out for me the most:
This one had me conflicted. I totally agree with the idea behind this statement, however, it was referring to Minka's Holocaust experience and to me that is a story that begs to be told no matter how lacking the words might be.
This is something I have always tried to promote. Believing in people, you don't have to agree with their views, religion or beliefs but as long as they are not bad people or hurting others then embrace and celebrate each others differences. To me that is equality.
For the most part history always bored me in high school but when we where learning about individuals in history I took more interest. For example, World War II as a whole was not interesting to me but learning about the individuals that lived through it, fought and most specifically Anne Frank was what compelled me to learn more. Reading The Diary of Anne Frank really got to me (as I am sure it did everyone) but you sit back and you think to yourself, these are her words, words that she wrote while hiding and trying to avoid death. So to me hearing stories of individuals LIVING in history is the most compelling part of history.