There is one class of books that I find difficult to judge. Books that deal with holocaust or partition – difficult to pick up and then impossible to put down. It seems an insult to the victims somehow, to not finish their story. It’s a feeling of ‘they suffered through it, can’t I just suffer through the book.’.
The past few months have been a bit holocaust ridden – first there was Maus. Then there was The Boy in Striped Pajamas and just now, there was The Book Thief. The first is a cartoon; the other two are fiction for young adults. The nature of audience and in the case of Maus, the technique of delivery, means that the facts seep out slowly through the story. Telling the tale of one boy or girl and in the case of Maus tracing the life of one survivor through the eyes of his estranged son forces one to measure the horror in something other than numbers.
Sigh. Now I want book where only the bad guys die and fully happy ending happens.