Welcome to my FIRST EVER Book Club book review!
I was lucky enough to become part of a Book Club, late last month, along with the most wonderful set of girls. After much deliberation, we decided that our first book was going to be – The Tattooist Of Auschwitz (published 2018).
Having been to Krakow, twice – and visiting Auschwitz, as well as Schindler’s Factory – I have been wanting to read this book for the longest time. My mum actually bought The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, earlier during this year whilst we were in Krakow, and she has been making almost no progress with it! I therefore bought my own copy and started reading it, as soon as I could.
I made the decision to read this book in one day, realising that the nature of the book would require my full attention and that I may lose the essence of the story if I did a “stop-start-stop-start” with it. Therefore, I started and finished this book on Saturday, September 8th.
For readers of Schindler’s List, The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas comes a heart-breaking story of the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.
I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.
Part of the way through The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, I had to convince myself that it wasn’t based on a true story, that it was fiction… just so that I could finish it!
This book will give you all the “feels”, in 288 pages. It’ll make you laugh, cry, smile… it’ll break your heart, and mend it again. It will make you question how a person could possibly have survived everything that Lale and Gita went through.
It’ll make you wonder how you’re reading the book… how it was physically possible for Lale Sokolov to sit and retell his story to Heather Morris, after it had been untold for seventy years.
This book is very well written. It starts in 1942 and ends in 1945 (but also covers Lale and Gita’s life in an Epilogue, beyond 1945). I have been to Auschwitz I and Birkenau, and those are still shocking to see; this story reinforces that. It provides so much detail about how the camps were set out, how the prisoners were living, how things worked there… It’s shocking, harrowing, and uplifting, all at once.
Lale and Gita’s story is one of the very best love stories during one of the absolute worst times in history.
The Tattooist Of Auschwitz has definitely left a mark with me. I would recommend this book to anyone, and especially to those interested in learning more about this piece of history.
I give this book 5/5 stars.