Like a lot of people, I like a good book. I’m not sure I would consider myself an ‘avid’ reader, but in general, I always have a book on the go. I read some stuff off the best-seller list, but not everything (I still can’t bring myself to read The Hunger Games). I generally like to switch between a light read (ie. Shopaholic series) and a serious read or historical/biographical book.
I just finished reading Far To Go by Alison Pick. I picked this book up at the airport and hoped it would be a good page-turner. Now bear with me, I haven’t done a ‘book report’ since, well, I can’t remember when, but this was a good book and thought it was worth sharing.
Set in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, it chronicles the lives of the Bauer family, a well-to-do secular Jewish family that slowly begins to lose their family fortune as the Nazi’s increase their presence in their town and their country. Written from the perspective of Marta, the Bauer’s young nanny, she sees the angst in Mrs. Bauer as the Nazi’s seize control of the family’s factory while Mr. Bauer seems unprepared to face the realities of Nazi rule. Ultimately this is the story of the Kindertransport, the true story of how thousands of Czech Jews placed their children, many still infants, on trains bound for the UK, hoping to save them and hoping to eventually re-unite with them. As history will tell, the re-uniting part did not happen.
The author weaves a powerful story, interlaced with a mysterious narrator who provides glimpses into the future. The character development is strong, if not long, and the full urgency of the story doesn’t truly unfold until at least halfway though. The author does a remarkable job of creating a sense of “this can’t possibly happen” voiced by some of the characters, a sentiment that history will dictate an entire continent held in the late 1930’s.
Is it a gripping page-turner? No. But anyone like myself who is humbled by the extreme sacrifices made by those living in Occupied Europe during the Second World War will find this to be a good read.