I finished another book! I’m on a roll this summer. I hope my reading streak continues because I tend to go in and out of reading phases, and I’ve really been enjoying all the books I’ve read this summer.

In my opinion, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana DeRosnay is a chick lit meets historical fiction novel. It tells the story of France in 1942 during the roundup of Jews called the Velodrome d’Hiver. When the Jews are rounded up in July of 1942 to be taken to Auschwitz, 10-yr old Sarah, locks her brother up in a cupboard promising him that she’ll return to get him as soon as she can. The story follows Sarah’s quest of cherishing the key in order to return and save her brother. Julia, a journalist in 2002 is about to move into the same apartment that Sarah’s family lived in 60 years ago and becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of Sarah’s key.

What I liked:

I loved how the beginning of the book went back and forth between 1942 and 2002, slowly developing the story from two different perspectives.

We hear so much about the Holocaust, but it’s the individual stories that really pull on heart strings and help us relate more with that tragic event that is so hard to truly imagine. The story portrayed that in the midst of all of the terror and brutal human ways, there were still some kind people willing to take risks to help others.

I liked how the story kept me engaged in the way it was written both by personal perspectives and then also by digging back into the past as Julia, the journalist, is trying to recover bits and pieces of a full story that reached all the way back into the present.

I loved the bits and pieces of the French language that forced me to quiz myself, hoping that 6 years of taking French had not been totally forgotten.

The book really makes you realize how much the past impacts the present, in all of our lives. My family isn’t Jewish, but I still had family members that survived the torture of forced labor camps during WW2. As part of a Displaced Person Camp after WW2, my great uncle was assigned to go to the U.S. His fate impacted our future of being sponsored as immigrants. Who knows, I could have been living in Canada, Germany, or England today.

I will have to see if our Poland vacation in September has room for a day trip to Auschwitz. I have been there, but I think it would be significant to show A.K. As horrible of a place as it is, it’s truly amazing that it has been so well preserved for decades of generations to see that it in fact was real and not just some story.

What I didn’t like:

The beginning of the book was so engaging and the last half of the book almost seems like a different book. The writing style changes significantly and it suddenly focused more chick lit by focusing on Julia’s marriage problems, which seems so insiginficant in contrast with the 1942 side of the story. I liked the chick lit break, but it also threw me off a lot too, as it would change back and forth.

Even though I have a long list of things I truly enjoyed about the book, the ending was super awkward and it left me disappointed and annoyed with the main character. It just got really cheesy all of a sudden, and I almost expected her to runaway with William in true chick lit style. It doesn’t compare to Hunger Games or the Help, which are both 5 star books in my opinion, where when I was done I was like “wow that was fun, I want more.”

My overall review: ★ ★ ★ (liked)

Apparently the French produced movie was released in limited theaters in the U.S. just last month, but I haven’t heard much about it.

Has anyone else read this book?