4 out of 4 stars
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Kurt is devastated by his girlfriend’s decision to leave Berlin to study art in New York City. In order to go there with her, he joins Project Remembrance, a volunteer corps of Germans who work by serving Holocaust survivors around the world. The grandson of a Nazi soldier, Kurt travels to New York and is set up to work with Sadie, an Auschwitz survivor. Feisty and independent, Sadie openly expresses her resentment towards young Kurt. Drawing From Memory, by Ronnie Berman, examines relationships stressed and tainted by past atrocities. Does love always win? Can compassion and forgiveness be found even after eighty years of acrimony and heartache?
Eighty years after the Holocaust, historical accounts of mankind’s savagery still provoke feelings of despondency and consternation. Pivotal events such as 9/11 seemed to have resurrected a desire to examine history, and in studying human nature through literature, writers have fortuitous opportunities to influence many people. A central theme in this narrative is responsibility. This is prominently shown in the protagonist’s family unit in Berlin: unspoken words of regret, rationalizing questionable decisions; perceived failures to live up to expectations. As the plot unfolds, readers follow the characters as this timeless theme spans generations and political boundaries.
The best part of this book is the dynamic characterization. Although the story’s plot is enticing, it is the skillful development of the characters that makes them realistic and brings the story to life. This is shown through the characters’ introspect, interaction with others, and internal conflicts. The transformation of the characters enhances the plot; the main characters come with their own unique outlooks, experiences, and values. As they interact, sparks fly, history resurfaces, and social identities are put to the test. The perspective shifts between two of the characters, allowing readers to emotionally connect with both of them. As the plot unfolds, we realize there is no good and no bad, only different. For the expert characterization, I give this story 4 out of 4 stars.
There is nothing about the book I did not like, and I would not change a single thing. The book is professionally edited, with only a few very minor errors that did not interfere with the flow of the narrative. Other than this, Drawing From Memory is a remarkably well-written and thought-provoking narrative that explains the powerful world of human emotions.
I recommend this book for all mature readers, especially those who enjoy historical fiction. This book is for readers looking for a read with strong characters who will pull them into the story and lead them to question what they have learned in history class. It should be noted that this narrative contains a moderate amount of profanity and some adult content, so it is not appropriate for younger readers.
Drawing From Memory
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