Where do I begin?
Last week, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel passed away at 87 years of age. While the book Night was on my to-read list, it jumped to the top of the pile. The version I purchased was the complete trilogy, and I will read the other two stories over the coming weeks. Honestly though, I read Night in just over a day, so I am sure it will not take that long to read the rest.
This book gets 5 out of 5 possible stars. Here is why:
In middle school I played Anne Frank in the school play, I still wear my grandfathers WWII dog tags around my neck, I love history and have read all I can on the Holocaust. Sure I went to the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC when I was there in college with the law club. I read everything I could about Corrie Ten Boom. I was sure I knew what happened during those horrible years….but I KNEW NOTHING.
Elie Wiesel gives the first hand true account of what happened to him as a young Jewish boy in a concentration camp. On one hand, his account is well written. On the other hand, the pure shock of what went on and what he witnessed made it a compelling read. Together you have a purely amazing book.
Reading his account made me both sad and angry. The realization of children being murdered like they were, not to mention all the adults, is enough to make you want to throw up. As I was in bed reading this book, with Talia next to me, I cried because I could not imagine what any parent went through during this time. I was angry because it was fellow human beings who had done this to the Jewish community. How the hell did this happen?
I was encouraged by the continued faith many had during this time. Many of the prisoners could have turned their back on God, and yet they still expressed their faith. I won’t lie, had it been me, I would have been so angry at God. Elie Wiesel struggled with this a bit, yet here he was a 15 year old boy in a concentration camp.
I have two pieces of advice for reading this book. First, have your phone on hand to Google any words you might not know. At the beginning of the book there are several words related to the Jewish religion I was unfamiliar with. As soon as I looked up each word, they made sense to me. Most of it I knew, but I grew up in a Baptist household, so some words were just not in my vocabulary. Do not let this deter you from reading the book!
My second piece of advice is to be prepared to be shocked. Even if you think you know how bad it was, you have no idea. You will not fully understand unless you lived through a concentration camp, yet this will bring you closer. In the Forward, Mr. Wiesel says “Only those who experienced Auschwitz know what it was.” I think this is true, yet this book will bring you a closer understanding.
With all of this being said, have you ever read Night? What did you think? What else are you reading this week? Use the comments section to tell us!
P.S. This picture has been circulating and I can’t find the original to give credit. In the middle row, seventh from the left, is young Elie Wiesel. May he rest in peace.