Monthly Archives: October 2018

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

My Review:

While this story breaks a lot of the rules of what a successful book must have, it truly is an incredible story based on truth, to give us insight into the experiences of people inside the camps. It is successful in its own right because of that!

I found it especially heart-wrenching as you see so clearly that the guards, doctors and others didn’t really believe they were doing anything wrong. In fact, they believed they were doing right. It reminded me of many of things I see in our society today, where people defend treating others with inhumane treatment simply because others agree with it.

While not really a book to read for a happily ever after story, it shows the bravery of those that went before us and teaches such valuable lessons. I would say even if you are one that likes to pretend bad things do not happen, this is such a valuable piece of history, while being an easier read than some placed in this time period, I would recommend it.

 I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical fiction

The Passion of Life

What is your passion?

I was asked this question yesterday. I almost didn’t hesitate in my response, as I answered what I love to do.

However, as I thought about it more in the quiet moments of my work hours, I realized I had not answered correctly.

What am I passionate about?

My life has been filled with many wonderful things. It has also been filled with many moments of pain.  In both of those times, I have found that my passions became small and at times, I could not even articulate what I enjoyed, let alone had any type of passion. That sounds really bad. It does, because it was really bad. I will spare you the details.

So, what did I discover was my passion?

I have many things that I enjoy. I love literature. I love reading. I enjoy writing. I thrive on visiting bookstores, discussing books and living through the experiences of others to educate and learn.

So while I said that my passion is reading and writing, I realized that in truth it more about the passion of learning and helping others not only desire to learn, but to enjoy experiencing the process. This extends far beyond just fiction, which is a big love of mine. It extends to childbirth, to education, and the reason I write on Quora. 

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It is why I love volunteering my time when I don’t have extra time to give.  It is why I seek to offer service in many ways on a weekly basis for education and building the community.

It is why I am there for my kids even when it is hard to get everything done.

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I believe that if I want to complain about the abuses in life, I need to do something about it, to change it on the most basic levels. It means starting with the small people that get overlooked in every aspect of my life.

It also means I get a bit worn out at times. Sometimes you feel like a superhero, but most of the time, you feel like the gum stuck on someone’s shoe. You might have been good at one time, but now you are nothing more than something to be scraped into the garbage.

So, how can you combine your passion with your work? How can you prevent yourself from being swallowed up by your passion until you are too tired to follow it anymore?

For me, I am finding that step by step, setting some good guidelines for yourself to follow is so important. If there are not guidelines in life, we fail.

-Make a plan

-Don’t try to be the savior for everyone, let others help out as well

-Watch out for the “White knight syndrome”.

-Realize that it is okay to fail sometimes

-Follow your passions, but make sure you don’t let them drive you. Always realize it is okay to make a U-Turn.

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Filed under Daily Happenings

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kellyn Roth

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Description

I obtained this book from NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Uncategorized