Book Review-The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club
About the Author
Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who had a story to tell. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay-which ranked high in international competitions before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
The Synopsis of the Book
April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tatowiere (The German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism-but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing and ultimately hopeful re0creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament tot he endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
Many of us are aware of the horrific events that took place at Auschwitz, and for that sole reason, most of us were leery about reading this book. We feared that it was going to be gruesome and depressing. Let me tell you, even though the subject matter is heart-wrenching, the story focuses on the bravery of these prisoners and is uplifting. This was a beautiful, well-written story that gently touched the horrors of Auschwitz. The subject matter was handled delicately, allowing the reader to let the story go as deep as they wanted it to.
It is a love story that takes place amongst the darkest times of two peoples lives, whose main objective is survival. Every day they managed to find something to be thankful for and found goodness in the bad. The bravery these prisoners portrayed and survived to tell their stories is superior. Trust me when I say, We have nothing to complain about.
This is a story that will stay with you for a long time. We should continue to write these kinds of stories to remind us of the sacrifices that were made and to never allow this to happen again. It is the perfect book to introduce high school students to their ancestor’s history and what they endured without horrific descriptions.
After reading this book, I can guarantee, you will probably take a look at your own life and realize that all those things that bother you on a daily basis will suddenly seem so trivial. Be thankful for what you have.
Our Overall Rating
COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – A beautiful well-designed cover, with soft colors that immediately tells you it’s historical fiction.
CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – The characters were believable and well developed
STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – A few members questioned the accuracy of some facts mentioned in the book
OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and highly recommend it.
Questions to ask at your book club
Click on the link below for questions to ask at your book club.
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