As a general rule, I don’t read a lot of books about the WWII/Holocaust. The words of Anne Frank, Escape from Warsaw, The Book Thief, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society paint a picture of a time that haunts my soul. What happened to society – to people as a whole – to inspire such hatred and violence? How did people find the courage to continue living despite such hard times? The courage embedded within the hearts of many people inspires and amazes me while the hatred and violence of others frighten me beyond belief.
Centered around the time of WWII/Holocaust, Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke is the story of a four-year-old deaf German girl, daughter to a prominent German officer. Having an “imperfect” child is a stain upon the father’s “record” that he is unwilling to have. Arrangements are made for Amelie to attend a facility specialized in caring for disabled children without the mother’s consent. Rumors have it that children like Amelie, once admitted, are never seen alive again. Desperate to save the life of her daughter, the mother reaches out to her childhood friend Rachel for assistance.
Rachel, a daughter to a prominent American researcher, is hesitant to accept her friend’s request. Her father’s research has shown the power of eugenics and she isn’t quite sure where she stands. Her friend must be over-reacting. After a spin of events, Rachel is forced to flee and enter hiding herself along with the deaf Amelie. Saving Amelie knits together a beautiful story of individuals learning to love and sacrifice despite the risks. It is the story of people learning to look beyond their needs to help a stranger, sister, and friend. The words of this book, while they were powerful, made me see the importance of looking beyond my own needs in all circumstances.
History enthusiasts and non-history-enthusiasts will unite within the pages of Saving Amelie because every soul – regardless of age, gender, and race – has value. It doesn’t matter when, where, or how – this value exists. I walked away from this book with a renewed desire to teach my children the importance of respecting the people that surround us. The only “true crime” against humanity is committed when we fail to honor the light, the life, and the love of the souls that surround us on a daily basis. We are created equal in the eyes of God, and we must strive to remember that in all times, in all things, and in all places.
–Book was provided by Tyndale House for my honest review.