Sarah’s Key

# 3 for books! Literally just finished reading this, and wanted to write a post right away. I have to wake up in 4 hours for work, but don’t care.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana DeRosnay, begins:

“The characters in this novel are entirely fictitious. But several of the events described are not, especially those that occurred in the Occupied France during summer of 1942, and in particular the great Velodrome d’Hiver roundup, which took place on July 16, 1942, in the heart of Paris…It is my tribute to the children of the Vel’ d’Hiv.”

The book goes back and forth between a French-American journalist, writing an article about the Vel’ D’hiv roundup, and a little Jewish girl’s horrifying perspective at the time.

It was a quick read and I honestly would have finished it sooner, but have been exhausted from work.  The chapters are so quick, like the thoughts were just flowing out of each characters head, that it was easy to flip through the pages eagerly wanting more. Although, like I said for the Stieg Larsson trilogy…I watched the movie before reading the book. BIG MISTAKE. I liked the film, but it was nowhere near as gripping as the book, at least for me. The surprises were not as shocking as they would’ve been. But, of course, overall the story to me was very disturbing, since I had no knowledge of the French side to the Holocaust before this book.

Julia, L’Americaine, annoyed me at times. I didn’t like her tolerance for her marriage, but enjoyed her stubbornness and journalistic need to know the truth. I think Kristin Scott Thomas is cast perfectly to portray her. I don’t think I could see anyone else as Julia Jarmond.Sarah was a heartbreaking character. For DeRosnay to write of such a horrifying past for her, made me so sad. I know their were thousands of children that were worse off, but it was horrible the guilt and sorrow she carried with her. And as for her portrayal of the disgust in peoples eyes, the evil and hate they had in their heart, the ignorance in the country…was also heartbreaking and I still can’t believe this EVER happened. Shows the worst side of humanity in history.Overall, Sarah’s Key was a wonderful read. Poignant and brilliant. I highly recommend it, especially if you aren’t familiar with the Vel’ D’hiv. It it part of French culture that is shameful and almost forgotten. For DeRosnay’s first novel, I have to say well done.


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