Length: 162 pages.
I have awarded this book 4 stars.
[Warning: this review contains spoilers. To view these spoilers, please see the bottom of the review, and highlight the white area]
Summary: Saying Goodbye to Warsaw tells the story of 10 year old Abigail Nussbaum, a little girl who loves children and being creative. Having lost her father, she now lives with her brother, Leo, aged 17, and their mother, Chana. Life is not easy for Abigail and her family; they are living in the year 1940, in Poland, and they are Jewish.
Review: Having studied this period, I knew that the outcome of this story would be bleak. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was for something as simple as words on a page to transport me into the life of Abigail Nussbaum and her family and make the story come alive. The author really captured the desperation of the people living in the ghetto, and the fear, along with the feeling of helplessness that caused a lot of people to stand by why this tragedy was taking place.
Written in an engaging way, this book was impossible to put down. I felt myself smiling along with Abigail one minute, and my eyes filling with tears the next. These characters are not special, they are just doing everything they can to survive. While nothing really happens for a lot of the book, I feel that this just further emphasised the helplessness that they were experiencing; they had no control over being in the ghetto, so they had to make do the best that they can.
Beautifully written, with loveable characters and believable events, I am sad that it is over. Seeing the lovely and naive way that Abigail views the world be completely shattered was heartbreaking. Not just because of the storyline, but because of how beautifully crafted the character of Abigail was. I had an issue with one of the events towards the end (see below), but I feel that the author included this purely to show the desperation of the characters.
Unfortunately, I felt that the ending let the book down (see below), which is why I have given 4 stars rather than 5. I believe that I understand why the author finished the book in this way, but it just didn’t work for me. I would still highly recommend this book though.
★★★★ – beautiful written, loveable characters and believable events. The author really brings the events to life. Very highly recommend!
Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon UK (Paperback)
Amazon US (Paperback)
Spoilers (Please highlight) –
1) ‘issue with one of the events’ – Abigail is taught to use a gun, and has mastered shooting after 3 shots. She is then able to shoot and kill. I can see that the author did this to emphasise the desperation of the characters and that everyone must fight to survive, but I had a hard time believing it, as Abigail is only 10 years old. Having said that, I did feel that it worked within the story.
2) ‘ending let the book down’ – The book ends with Leo and Abigail dead and finally with their dead parents too, in Heaven. While I think it was nice that they were all reunited and out of the ghetto, I also felt that it detracted from the pain and suffering in the rest of the story. Obviously, the story is based on real events, and I felt that the ending sort of forced a happy ending in a terrible situation.