Sunday, 19 August 2012

Between Shades of Gray - #14

I am actually still reading Anna Karenina. But some of the lovely people who are doing the Around the World Challenge invited me to do their own 24 hour challenge for the weekend. It is all Olympic in theme, and therefore I am reading European books for Team Europe today. Also means no time for relevant pictures for my post.

I picked this up at the start which was midnight my time last night. I ripped through 8 chapters before bed. This quick amount of reading annoyed me. I hate the fact that people who are writing from young adults or children feel like that is an excuse to write badly. Or that if they write badly, then they change their audience to young adults and children. I think that is patronising. And not to mention I feel this must just turn off kids from reading. Thank you J.K. Rowling for cementing this trend (although she obviously didn't turn kids off reading but is a terrible writer).

And that's what I felt with the first 60pp of this book. However picking it up again this morning has made me change my mind somewhat. I couldn't for the life of me work out how we were going to see a happy ending to the book, or even an ending. I was pleasantly surprised that it was accomplished.

The story is of Lina, her brother and her mother who are Lithuanians who are taken from their homeland by the secret Soviet police/military and then are forced in to work camps and hard labour in Russia and Siberia. This occurs during WWII and you have this interesting insight again (like in Purge) of the people dealing with Stalin and hoping that Hitler will save them, only to realise that Hitler is just a monster from the West, as opposed to one from the East.

I feel so sorry for the people of Eastern Europe. They seem to have been forgotten by us in the West after we dealt with Hitler and the Japanese. As long as people were not attacking us and people like us (US, UK, Aus, France, Germany, Austria etc), we were kind of happy to leave them be behind their Iron Curtain. Where is seems that those people who fell on the wrong side of the curtain endured the horrible crimes that existed in the War for 40 years longer. That to me seems inexcusable...

But back to the book. It picked up pace, the flashbacks began to fit, and the writing  began to flow. Despite the few typos (what is with editors these days?) it was an enjoyable YA read. A great introduction to the horrors of the Soviet regime. Well great and enjoyable as it can be in the circumstances. 2.5 stars.

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