Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree by Laura Hillman



Hannelore Wolff was living an average life of most middle class German's when the war struck. Then she was sent to a private school in Berlin, where a few months later, she received shocking news. Her mother and brothers were being deported by Germany's secret police. The decision to join them on the train to who knows where, could possibly change her life.

After this decision, Hannelore traveled to eight different labor and concentration camps, each a different horrific memory. Yet somehow, through all the suffering, Hannelore managed to fall in love with a Polish POW named Dick Hillman. Together, this young couple has the whole world against them, but somehow they remain hopeful, especially after they learn that they were placed on Schindler's list. But this doesn't necessarily mean all is well, for the war isn't over yet.

Well, I (Amanda) chose to read this book, because we were learning about the Holocaust and WWII in History class, and I've always had a soft spot for true Holocaust survivor stories. I was instantly attracted to the hope and love that managed to remain between Hannelore and Dick in this book, but I didn't have the same reaction to the rest of the book. The plot was overall, a great idea, but it moved too fast at some parts, which ironically made the read go slower. I felt like Hillman lacked a little something in her writing, while I could somewhat connect to Dick and Hannelore's romance, and the hope and despair she went through, there just wasn't any fantastic imagery, or words and sentences strung together well enough that they just made me sigh like the literary nerd I am. I really disliked the beginning,(too fast), but the book did get better as it went on. You could feel Hannelore's joy as she received things that seem commonplace, like warm underwear. While the idea and the story is there, the delivery just didn't cut it. Overall, an average read. Nothing special, but the plot and characters saved it from being horrible.

Didn't love it. Didn't hate it.

- Amanda

1 comment:

  1. Incredible! Amanda writes "there just wasn't any fantastic imagery, or words and sentences strung togeter well enough that they just made me sigh . . ." I suggest she reread a passage found in Chapter 22: "The sun's orange glow merged with the smoke coming from the crematorium, creating a most unusual sight. It was as though the sun had been caught in a net of smoke. This was a sunset like I had never seen before. 'My last sunset . . .I will never see another.' Soon they would come for me, tell me the lie that I was to take a shower--one with gas." No, the book does not read like the script of an episode of The Bachlorette. The memoir's stark imagery reflects the unspeakable horror 6 million human beings endured, and, at the same time, celebrates the strength of the human spirit.