Between Shades of Gray – Review

I have been drawn to books detailing the struggles of people during World War II since I have been a child.  For that reason, I wanted a chance to read this book for years. Finally I was able to check it out through Overdrive from my library and was anxious to be transported back in time.

The story begins in Lithuania with Lina, her mother, and younger brother being deported by Soviet officers in a filthy train car to a place they had never experienced before – Siberia. Lina and her family, along with others that become family to her, are forced to work in cruel conditions at labor camps for Stalin’s regime. Lina uses her love for art as a tool to tell the story of the horrors she faced, despite the danger of her drawings being discovered. She hopes her art will help her father make his way back to her family after she finds him in a separate train car going to a different location.

In the first few pages of this story, I was confused about what was taking place because I had not seen the mention of the characters being Jewish. I even stopped reading to ask my husband, who happens to be a History major, if he could clear up my confusion. We were both stumped. Eventually I came to realize through my reading that only one of the characters was in fact, Jewish. The deportations were actually a result of “Sovietization” and the result of Communism in Russia. Citizens from the Baltic states were removed, murdered, or forced into labor camps to further the agenda of Stalin. This was an unfamiliar aspect of history to both my husband and me. Continue reading “Between Shades of Gray – Review”

My Name is Memory – Review

my-name-is-memoryDo you know what may be the best thing in modern society?  Logging off Facebook and using every moment you would pick up your phone, to pick up a book instead.  Not an e-reader, a real book.  The solitude and quiet resetting of myself has been much-needed and so welcomed.  Let’s be honest, I already know what is going on in the world.  I don’t need Facebook to tell me, with a dash of hostility and a pinch of bickering.

With my newfound free-time, I decided to check out a copy of My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares from the library in town, based on the recommendation of author Faith Andrews.  Ann Brashares is the author of The Traveling Pants series, as many of you may already know.  I grew through my early teenage years with the “Pants” books, so I already trusted Brashares to bring me a story I would love. Continue reading “My Name is Memory – Review”