The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book surprised me, in the best possible way. I've considered myself a WWII buff for a long while now, but reading this book made me realize that I've never even heard of anything about the St.Louis. Well, this story is the story of a journey of friendships, relationships, and the actual trip and aftermath of across the ocean. We follow the life story of Hannah, a Jewish-born wealthy child living in Berlin. Her and her family make an escape sailing to Havana Cuba, where the climax of the whole story happens.
Rarely do I see dual perspective from different time periods work in a historical fiction novel, and this was sadly no exception. I just felt so drawn to the main narrative-Hannah's-that I really felt no emotional connection to the 2014 descendant, Anna. It's one of those things where you just want to skip the chapters with the other POV, and just continue being immersed in the life story of the main character.
Also, beware that the first 30% was extremely hard for me to get into, I just couldn't immerse myself completely into the story yet sadly. But I'm so glad that I was able to push through because it worth the effort and I couldn't recommend it enough to others.
My favorite part of this whole book was how the author had the ability to describe intricacies and the nuances of friendships between children that have their childhood taken away from then. The best relationship in this whole book in my opinion were the exchanges in dialogue between Hannah and her best and only friend Leo. That same concept later on repeats with Diego and Ana which was also heartwarming to watch from Hannah's perspective.
There are moments when it's better to accept it's all over, that there's nothing more to be done. Give up and abandon hope :surrender.That's how I felt by then. I didn't believe in miracles.This had happened to us because we insisted on changing a destiny that was already written. We didn't have any rights, we couldn't reinvent history. We were condemned to be deceived from the moment we came into the world.
This is probably the most memorable beautiful piece of writing in this book, and it's filled with some jewels as these. I couldn't get over how this book didn't cover up or shy away from racism, sexism, immigration, and depression/mental illness, and ignorance to all of these things all of which are hard topics to discuss.
The two main themes that resonated with me at least and were repeated over and over again were: the feeling of being "impure" and "unwanted". I loved how the author seemed to weave these two emotions throughout the whole plot-line, because I felt like it really was a driving point of Hannah's life in many ways. It kind of broke my heart every-time that I would see Hannah wrestling with these things that were so deeply instilled inside of her.
Overall, this is a book that opens your eyes and encourages you to more acceptance and love (or even simply tolerance) towards others that are different than you. Would highly recommend for everyone to pick this one up!
Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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