Moving on to the review...
Guys, can I be honest with you? When I realized this book was a Holocaust story I was a little bit disappointed. Not because I don't see the value in all 20 hundred Holocaust stories that are out there. But more because I feel they're a little bit, "Been there. Done that." Is that
It's true. I found myself thinking, "Another concentration camp story?" (And that my friend's is transparency. Bring on the hate mail.)
Because I found Jane Yolen's book to be mildly entertaining, short and easy to read however, I finished it without further complaint. I'll admit it offered a bit of different take on the period than I'm accustomed to. By inserting a modern day character into a concentration camp, Hannah was able to experience the atrocity with eyes more like my own. Even her initial boredom and distaste for her family's Seder rituals mirrored my own boredom with the book's subject matter. This meant by the end, my heart was more pricked than it might have otherwise been by the telling of this tragic tale. Although, I could argue I was feeling guilty rather than genuinely moved. I mean really - what kind of a heartless automaton is "bored" by a Holocaust story?
In summation, I would say that another book about the Holocaust obviously would not have been what I would have chosen to read if left to my own devices. However, if books like Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic can be tools to begin discussions about The Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda I say, "Keep 'em coming." Frank discussions about these tragedies GOING ON RIGHT NOW are indeed a first step in preventing further hidden slaughters like the one experienced by Hanna, her family and the countless victims of the Nazi regime.
For more bloggers (hopefully less heartless) takes on The Devil's Arithmetic, check out Charlotte's blog The Daily Snapshot.