This is one of those books I was never going to read as the war is something I am not really interested in but after seeing it became an international best seller I decided it was time to give it a try. Anyway, it is time for a review.
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
Taken from goodreads
From the very start you see that Lale is just trying his hardest so he is able to just stay alive so he can see his family again. Not only that but he wants to help the people around him who are also in this terrible situation. This is what makes him so popular in the camp as his attitude to everything is what not only keeps him alive but also helps other people pull through. However after the first 50 pages you do notice just how lucky Lale is in the story and he doesn’t seem to be going through half the stuff that the rest of the prisoners are going through. When I do read about the war I want the worst possible story to prove just how horrid of a situation it is not a man lucky adventure, it is when I noticed this that I took a break from reading the book and wasn’t sure if I was going to carry on.
After coming back to the book and hitting the 100 page mark I couldn’t put the book down, this is because of just how well the story was being told. You do get some insight into the horrors that Lale went through and just how bad of a life he had to live through. The occasional different point of view helps the book in such a good way as it gives us a chance to see how Gita sees the world and what is happening to her.
Speaking of Gita, the relationship she and Lale has is amazing, they managed to find love in a place where even happiness doesn’t deserve to be but they managed to find each other all because of a tattoo and it’s simply beautiful. It gets even better when you actually finish the book and find out what happened to the pair after the war ended and see that their amazing relationship just carried on.
This book does deserve to be a bestseller but if you are at all interested in what happened in the war and want to know more details then this is probably not the book for you.