Friday, August 17, 2012

Pennies for Hitler

By Jackie French
Location: FIC FRE
Genre: WWII

This book is written as a companion to the bestselling -'Hitlers' Daughter'

Slower paced but highly worthwhile historical fiction about a German boy with a hint of Jewish ancestry during World War II. What would it have been like to be smuggled out of Germany inside a suitcase, to leave one's parents and all one had known behind?

It is realistic historical fiction without melodramatic action or adventure for entertainment's sake; it presents challenges that people were called to live through, and which, with great strength of character and edifying equanimity of soul, they did live through.

There are many inspiring themes: courage and hope in the face of life-changing adversity; kindness in the face of hatred, and if hatred is contagious, kindness can be too; facing loss and suffering on the strength of love; relying on the goodness of strangers; friendship and the love of family...

There's a glimpse of two quite different types of poetry: Georg's father clings to a peaceful, hopeful Goethe in the midst of racial hatred, and Mr Peaselake bellows Australian verse about the stockmen and the land. Both bring meaning to their environment and give expression to sentiments of the soul.

The story explores how enemies are assigned in one's mind, in culture and in history, but also how it feels to be that enemy for others. People are people, even when their countries or leaders do bad things; we see this ever more clearly with time.

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