I recently finished the above book, Sarah's Key, as part of my crazy book reading blitz lately. This was a book that apparently is quite popular, I think a movie is being made out of it? MSD just picked it up from amazon for me a while ago when he was buying books he thought I might like. So I'm game to read a lot of different things and this novel presented some interesting story lines. So I read it and I now I'm kind of undecided about my overall opinion. On one hand I really like the way the past and present are woven together and function as a key part of the plot. Additionally, the historical context (Jews, Nazi's and deportation/death) in France was fascinating to read about. I enjoyed the novel's critical analysis of how human's can easily forget their participation in genocide even against their own people. It offered quite a critique of the larger human tendency to "move quickly past" items in history that are painful (hello! slavery in our country). Anyway that theme of what does it mean to remember is present throughout and I found that pretty interesting.
But the novel over all didn't feel that compelling. I still can't quite place my reasons why not but my gut feeling was that I didn't feel that connected to the characters or inhabited by the story. Perhaps it was the main character- she had this drive to find out about the little girl, Sarah, but aside from a few chance contextual factors it didn't seem that this compulsion was well explained. The reader is just sort of left to assume that this is a normal thing for a woman to simply drop everything to chase after this child's story. Now the story is interesting and certainly complex. But I wasn't drawn in to the storyline as I normally feel that I am in a novel. I would say that while interesting it wasn't a book that I would hand over to others to read- so I'd give it about a B overall.
There's another 5th grade book report, I'm sure there will be more to come but I have to turn my attention to preparing for the three classes I'm teaching this fall... oy!