Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 2001 Book Club Meeting

 Summary: In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel." They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.

Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story. - -Penguin

A few days ago, my book club met to discuss THE TRUE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL by Louise Murphy. I didn't think I was going to be able attend our meeting until the last minute, so I ended up reading this book in a 24 hour period. In some ways, it was an intriguing read; and in other ways, it was pretty graphic and disturbing. Regardless, I'm not sure that I appreciated this novel as much as I had hoped because of the time constraint I gave myself.

Most of our group liked the book -- some a lot and some not quite as much (I think I fell in the "not quite as much" camp.) We all agreed that the premise behind the story was brilliant. It was the execution of the story where we differed in our opinions. Having said that, I think we had an interesting discussion about the book; and I do recommend it to book clubs.

Next month, we will be reading BLOODROOT by Amy Greene. May is actually my month to host and I've had this book in mind for almost a year. I can't wait to read it, and I have a feeling that it's going to be a good book to discuss! (Or at least, that's what I'm hoping!) Any thoughts?

Summary: Myra Lamb is a wild girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain. Her grandmother, Byrdie, protects her fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike. But when John Odom tries to tame Myra, it sparks a shocking disaster, ripping lives apart. Bloodroot is the dark and riveting story of the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations. -- Vintage


Sandy Nawrot said...

I read True Story awhile back, for the WWII Reading Challenge in 2009. Cute idea to make the kids story mirror Hansel and Gretel, but I felt like that whole thing kind of fell apart halfway through and became...something else. It was a harrowing story of course. And there was hope at the end. Of all the WWII stories I've read, I'd put it somewhere in the middle of the pack.

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read either book, but I'm really looking forward to Bloodroot.

Athira said...

I've been curious about Hansel and Gretel for quite a while. I haven't read Bloodroot but it's in my wishlist!