Apr 7, 2009
Those Who Save Us- Jenna Blum
Those Who Save Us- Jenna Blum
For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmführer of Buchenwald.
Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.
Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother-daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.
Those Who Save Us is a remarkable story of one trying to forget her past, and one wanting to know more of her past. The books goes back and forth between Anna's point of View in Germany during Hitler's Rein, and Anna's daughter Trudie's point of view in America in current times.
From Anna's lost love Max to the SS Nazi officer she becomes mistress to, we find out what Anna would do to ensure the survival of her daughter. Some of the things Anna sees are so inhumane you can understand why she doesn't want to remember, and chooses to not look back after being rescued by a American officer, Jack.
Trudie is having a hard time coping with not knowing what exactly happen while she was in Germany as a child, she remember's bits and pieces, but needs her mom's help to connect the pieces together. She starts diving more into what was going on in Germany when she starts interviewing Germans who lived in Germany through Hitler's power for a project at the University she teaches at.
The ending is a great, but not how I would have liked it to end. I wanted Trudie to find out about her past from her mom, but I can understand that the author was trying to make a splash. I just don't feel it was necessary. The ending did make it easier to fill in the holes though.
As I was trying to go to sleep last night after finishing it, the characters stayed in my head and heart, always a good sign. I totally recommend this book to anyone.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Jenna Blum has been writing professionally since 1986, when her short story "The Legacy of Frank Finklestein" won First Prize in Seventeen Magazine's national fiction contest. Jenna's debut novel Those Who Save Us was published by Harcourt in 2004. In October 2007 the novel, called "the little book that could" in Publishers Weekly, jumped onto the Boston Globe and the New York Times bestseller lists. Those Who Save Us won the Harold Ribalow Prize, awarded by Hadassah Magazine and adjudged by Elie Wiesel, in 2005; foreign rights have been sold in Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Italy, Israel, Norway, and Spain. Those Who Save Us was also the Borders Book Club Selection for Summer 2007 and is still a Borders 2-for-1 promotion. A World War II mother-daughter story inspired by Jenna’s German and Jewish heritage and the interviews she conducted for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, Those Who Save Us is a national book club favorite and continues to hold steady on the New York Times bestseller list.
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Adult (May 2, 2005)