Friday, April 22, 2011

Sarah's Key

Hostess: Jill
Book: Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
Food: Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Hummus and Pita, Homemade bumpy cake, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Strawberry Salad with blue cheese
Wine of the Night: Columbia Crest Riesling
Month: April

It seemed that most of us in book club are closet Francophiles - however, the book Sarah's Key reveals a not so great side of French history during World War II. I hate writing my own plot summaries, so I will just let the publisher do it for us:

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

It was unanimous- everyone loved this book - and for the first time, we had almost everyone finish the book. Only one person did not finish in time. Most of us read it in one sitting, not able to put it down, and all of us cried. We talked about the internment camps full of children with no one to care for them, of Sarah's brother, and of Julia's marriage.

Personally, this book opened my eyes to a part of history that I did not realize happened. I am not sure why I never put this together, that France sent Jewish citizens to concentration camps. I feel like Julia did, like it is a little known horrible fact, probably much like America's internment camps of Japanese-Americans during the same time frame. I have a degree in History, but this was an event that remained hidden in all my studies. I think that de Rosnay did a wonderful job of bringing it into the light, to remind us all of events that should never be forgotten.

Next month is Jennifer's pick - Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter. It seems like the perfect pick for spring.

1 comment:

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