Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Blue Suitcase by Marianne Wheelaghan

A poignant story of a German family's struggles during the Nazi reign

Back Cover:

It is 1932, Silesia, Germany, and the eve of Antonia's 12th birthday. Hitler's Brownshirts and Red Front Marxists are fighting each other in the streets. Antonia doesn't care about the political unrest but it's all her family argue about. Then Hitler is made Chancellor and order is restored across the country, but not in Antonia's family. The longer the National Socialists stay in power, the more divided the family becomes with devastating consequences. Unpleasant truths are revealed and terrible lies uncovered. Antonia thinks life can't get much worse - and then it does. Partly based on a true-life story, Antonia's gripping diary takes the reader inside the head of an ordinary teenage girl growing up. Her journey into adulthood, however, is anything but ordinary.

It was with great pleasure that I read this World War II Nazi Germany story told through the eyes of a young German girl. The Blue Suitcase opens in 1932 Silesia, Germany. Antonia Nasiski is twelve years old. The political upheaval in her country slowly infiltrates her family, tearing them apart bit by bit as they each face horrific struggles.

It is a poignant coming-of-age story that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. The easy, simplistic style transcends age restrictions and is appropriate for young adults as well as adults. What makes this novel so important is that it gives readers a point of view rarely shared – that of the suffering of the common German people.

The novel is a compelling read, unique, and one that will definitely shock. It is a portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit. An excellent depiction of a lesser know point of view.