Archive for February 2011

#17 "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay


The next installment of this wonderful blog belongs to Tatiana de Rosnay's novel, Sarah's Key.  This story is set in both current day France, as well as France during the Holocaust. 

Sarah's a 10 year-old girl who locks her 4 year-old brother in a hidden cupboard in their apartment when the French (yes, French) police come to round up the Jewish families in the apartment building.  She leaves him with his water and a book and promises to come back for him, not realizing there may be a chance that she might not be back.  She and her parents are then taken with other Jewish families in France for the Vel' d'Hiv roundup.  Her part of the journey then encompasses trying to find a way to get back to her brother.

This book also flips back-and-forth, every other chapter with the present time, Julia Jarmond, an American who has lived in France for over a decade.  She, of course, is researching the Vel' d'Hiv for an article.  As you can imagine, the two stories mesh together quite well by the end of the novel.  As I'm not one for ruining books, I shall say no more regarding the content of the novel!

This is a book club choice and our meeting isn't until Wednesday, so forgive me for what little of a review I'm about to do for it.  Don't want to give too much away!

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.  I always enjoy historical fiction for some reason (does that make me a nerd?) and this book definitely has that element.  I think that the author did a great job at bringing the two settings together and melding the parts in to one solid story.  I feel as though de Rosnay did a great job at making me empathize with Sarah and the different characters from her part of the story.  Obviously, I was not around at this time in history, but I feel that the way she told the story seemed to be a somewhat accurate portrayal of what I've learned about this and similar events taking place at the time.

And now for a few things I disliked hated about this book.  The most annoying part for me was the fact that de Rosnay felt the need to name EVERY SINGLE STREET in France throughout the novel.  Don't get me wrong; I loved France when I was there.  I love reminiscing when I hear names/places that I recognize or have been to.  I do NOT, however, need to read EVERY street name that Julia/Sarah encounter throughout the novel.  Seriously... I bet 10% of this book was JUST street names.

Anyway, enough ranting about that.  The other thing that annoyed me and landed this book with a lower Goodreads star-rating than it would have had from me otherwise, happened in the last 50 pages of the book.  (This might not make sense if you haven't read it, but again, I don't want to give anything way either.)  There was a point at or around 50 pages 'til the end, in which it either need to be more elaborate in bringing the story to a close, or it just needed to end there.  There was a chance for a perfect stopping spot that I would have been more than happy with, but when she drones on and lengthens the story, she doesn't do enough.  Does that make sense?  Either she needed to quit earlier or elaborate further.  That may be confusing, but if you read the book and want to know what I'm referencing, I'll be more than happy to share.

Needless to say, that is all I'm going to say at this time.  I know I always say I'll write more after my book club meetings and I never do, so I'm just not going to promise it this time.  :)

This book is RECOMMENDED.

First Line Teaser:  "The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door."

Up Next:  Who knows?  Seriously... I feel like I always lie to you.  I currently have 15, yes 15, books going.  (If your curious, you can friend me on Goodreads to find out what I'm reading/have read.)  The next one that lands a blog will probably be the next book club book when we pick it on Wednesday.  I'll keep you posted.