Like any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.
In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.
Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.
Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?
Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is a surprisingly light read given the subject matter. It centers around the Nussbaum family of Abbie, her brother Leo, and her mother Chana who are imprisoned in a bombed-out ghetto in Warsaw in the midst of WW2.
Much of the book describes the squalor and poverty that has been thrust upon them, their fear of the German soldiers and the uncertainty of their future – however protagonist Abbie is a carefree, daydreamer who can see beauty and excitement in almost anything, giving the story a light-hearted, innocent tone.
I liked Abbie as the protagonist for that reason but I also felt like the main crux of story was being overlooked – the truth of their plight. Eventually we’re introduced to Alenka who is part of an underground resistance group which Leo has joined.
All of a sudden the innocent, light tone is replaced with a growing sense of impending doom and that’s the part of the story that shone for me. And I loved how much Abbie’s character changes throughout this book.
As for the things I didn’t enjoy – there were only a few. I found the start of the book quite slow and the writing didn’t flow easily for me but after a couple of chapters it seemed to improve. And I wished we’d met Alenka a lot sooner.
Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is a slow-burner but I thought the journey was totally worth it.
Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the author in exchange for an HONEST review. (THANKS)
Title: Saying Goodbye to Warsaw
Author: Michael Cargill
Details: Paperback, 170 pages
Publication Date: Published September 8th 2013 by Createspace
My Rating: 4/5
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