Monday, March 12, 2012

Tatiana De Rosnay's Sarah's Key- Not for kids

This novel was at the book fair at my middle school campus, and I don't know why.

De Rosnay tells a story of the French roundup on July 16, 1942 at the Velodrome d'Hiver. The Vel' d'Hiv became known as one of the largest roundups of French Jews during the occupation. What's so horrific about it is that it was ran by French police, under German orders, and the Jews were treated so inhumanely.  The families were forced to stay in a large stadium for days without any food or water.  Then, they were all shipped to a holding camp. The parents were brutally separated from their children, and sent away to Auschwitz to die.  The children remained at Beaune-la-Rolande, until receiving orders to go to Auschwitz.

De Rosnay made it very clear that this novel is not to be interpreted as a historical fiction, but as a way to remember what happened to those thousands of innocent children. The author ties the past and the present together by telling the story from two perspectives: an American journalist living in Paris during 2002, and 10 year old Sarah who lived through the roundup.

The novel is a beautifully written and horrific story. I had difficulty keeping my emotions in control.  The novel stayed with me so much, that I would lie awake at night and think about my daughter and what would/couldn't do to save her.

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