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Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us

Scritto da Jenna Blum

Narrato da Suzanne Toren


Those Who Save Us

Scritto da Jenna Blum

Narrato da Suzanne Toren

valutazioni:
4/5 (48 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
15 ore
Pubblicato:
Jun 9, 2008
ISBN:
9781436151337
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

Haunted by an old family photo of her mother and a high-ranking Nazi officer, historian Trudy Swenson begins to dig deep into the past to uncover the wartime experiences her mother refuses to talk about. Author Jenna Blum has worked for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation for four years. Her novel received exceptional reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.
Pubblicato:
Jun 9, 2008
ISBN:
9781436151337
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Jenna Blum is the New York Times and number one international bestselling author of the novels Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers. She was also voted one of the favorite contemporary women writers by Oprah.com readers. Jenna is based in Boston, where she earned her MA from Boston University and has taught fiction and novel workshops for Grub Street Writers for twenty years. For more about Jenna, please visit www.jennablum.com

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3.9
48 valutazioni / 78 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    This book started out with promise, but then it dwindled away. There were a number of things that annoyed me about "Those Who Save Us", the first being the lack of quotation marks. Why were they left out? Having to stop and reread a passage to work out who was speaking became tiring, and frustrating, very quickly. As for the characters they were all bland and annoying. I never connected with Anna and I liked her daughter Trudie even less. The only character I has some sympathy for was Jack because I hated how Anna treated him. Then there were the sex scenes. Yes, I get that Anna became an unwilling mistress to an SS commandant, but really, did the author have to be so graphic on so many occasions, especially when other important details were left out? Finally, the ending . . . what a disappointment. It was weak, rushed and unsatisfying. I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book showing the extraordinary lengths people went through to survive this terrible period in time and protect the ones they loved, but there are far better holocaust novels out there.
  • (4/5)
    Trudy, a history professor, is conducting a project based on interviews with German WWII survivors. Her German mother, Anna, does her best to live her life without causing or feeling any more harm or hurt; therefore, she doesn't share any stories from the past. Trudy is able to discover more through the interviews. The story is told in alternating chapters of the past and present.This was another interesting viewpoint - surviving WWII Germans. I found the story as a whole to be very good, but it didn't draw me in like most of the WWII stories I've read. The main characters were clearly defined, and often, I could understand their emotions, but didn't feel them. Also, I was disappointed that there were so many gratuitous s*x scenes. I think I understand what the author was trying to convey, yet sometimes less is more. I believe this was one of those times. Overall - a good book, but nothing I would rave about.Originally posted on: Thoughts of Joy
  • (4/5)
    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    I finished and I have to tell you that I was really disappointed with this one. I am going to give this book 4 stars for the story and the way that it seemed to focus on many of the German victims of WWII, especially the women and children.

    I had such high hopes andd all was going well, in my opinion, until Trudy and Rainer hooked up. I realize that Trudy was searching for validation, understanding etc...but this just did not seem to fit with me.

    I really felt that the book started to spiral down down down after that. I was hoping to find out more about Ruth and about Thomas. I felt that those two characters were very under utilized. The ending was just two contrived for me with meeting Felix Pfieffer.


  • (4/5)
    This book reiterates my theory that women and children are the worst casualties of the brutalities of every war among men.

    More than just a story of survival but a deep psychological study on a woman's (Anna) life in the midst of war, and the damages left with her in it's aftermath.

  • (4/5)
    I have always had a strange obsession with the Holocaust. A fascination that is yet to be satiated. This story of Anna and Trudie has been a generous and satisfying portion for that hunger. This story told in past and present by mother and daughter of their experience in wartime Germany and present day Minnesota is heart-wrenching and horrific. Anna is desperately hiding the truth while Trudie is determined to find it. Be warned of repeated detailed sexual scenes throughout the book that some readers may find distasteful. Aside from that, if you liked Sarah's Key you will also enjoy this book. I give this book 4 stars because of my huge interest in the subject matter.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing, I could not put it down.
  • (5/5)
    I recently read this book while visiting Berlin and found this to be a compelling story. being a native of Minnesota, this aspect of the novel contributed to my interest (it's difficult to use the word "enjoyment") in the book. I did feel the book lost some of its power by the final chapters and really wanted it to go on a bit longer into how the mother/daughter relationship was altered when Trudy learned the truth of her parentage. PS This story was far superior to Sarah's Key, which have little character development.
  • (4/5)
    "Those Who Save Us" is a very engaging book, alternating between the mid- to late-1990s (where the story is told from Anna's daughter's, Trudy's, perspective) and the early- to mid-1940s (those parts being told from Anna's perspective). Anna, living in Weimar before the onset of the war, falls in love with a Jewish doctor and has a child with him. However, due to the time period, she must keep the child's paternity secret. She is taken in by the town baker, and Anna becomes involved with the resistance as well. But the baker is killed, and Anna must become the mistress of a high-ranking SS official from the Buchenwald camp in order to keep herself and, more importantly to her, her daughter alive. This shadows her entire life, even after she marries an American GI and goes to the States.Meanwhile, Trudy believes that she is the daughter of said SS officer, and she has lived her life in guilt because of that belief. Anna, who has never been forthcoming about any aspect of her wartime experience, doesn't tell Trudy anything differently. Trudy becomes a professor of German history, where she takes on a project that will, eventually, lead her to the truth of her mother's past.Like I said in the first paragraph, I found this book to be very engaging and difficult to put down, and it's hard to believe that this is the author's first novel. I will definitely pick up any other books she writes.But, that said, there were a few plot devices used that could have been done better. The element of time, for example. Max and Anna are going to leave for Switzerland the day that he's turned in and arrested. Really? Why did it have to be that very day (except for dramatic effect)? The timing of Trudy's lover leaving is the same thing. And the ending...well...it was just too convenient. How nice that everything could be wrapped up with a big bow and dropped at Trudy's feet - but real life doesn't work that way.Still, I'd recommend the book. It definitely makes the reader think about what s/he would have done in Anna's situation.
  • (5/5)
    An excellent book told in the past and present. Anna, living in Weimar, during WWII and trying to keep her daughter, Trudy, alive. Trudy, a grown woman, teaching German history, but having no idea of her own. A sad but beautiful picture of Germany in WWII and the lasting effect that it still has on people. Moving.
  • (5/5)
    Wow, I couldn't put this down! Anna and Trudy's story mesmorized me from the start. What we do to survive.
  • (5/5)
    A fascinating story about the struggle to survive in Nazi Germany and the difficult choices that were often made. A mother's struggle and reluctance to discuss the past leads to her daughter's search to uncover the truth about her mother's past which included a Nazi soldier.
  • (4/5)
    Met at Zum Schwan for old world German ambiance. Great discussion. Those that save us, shame us. key point, We wanted more story about Anna and felt Trudy was not as well developed and less sympathetic as a character.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of those books that demand you to keep turning the pages. Some of the passages are painful to read: the degradation and humiliation of Anna at the hands of the Obersturmfuhrer, for example, and the graphic depiction of the atrocities committed against the Jews. Jenna Blum has a beautiful "turn of phrase," and her descriptions bring even the most mundane things to life. The story isn't a happy one, but very satisfying.
  • (4/5)
    When I heard the author speak soon after reading this book, she explained that she was motivated to write this book by her interest in understanding what ordinary Germans were doing and thinking while the Holocaust was taking place. Although her first novel is not perfect, and some people I discussed it with felt parts of the plot were contrived, I think Blum accomplishes her goal as she examines the lives and relationships of a mother and daughter who survived living in Germany during World War II.

    This is not an easy read -- there's lots of graphic scenes and violence, but in my opinion these scenes are necessary to show the horror of the Holocaust period.
  • (5/5)
    I couldn't put down this book. I lost sleep because I couldn't put it down, hours after I should have been in bed. Wonderfully written, seamless transissions from past to present, characters I hated and loved. What a grey area this book is written in, a fantastic change from mostly the black and white of this era. I loved it.
  • (5/5)
    For some reason, stories about the time of the Holocaust fascinate me. It's impossible to fully imagine the truth of such a horrific event and the fact that one person could lead a group of people into hate at the depth that must have been present. I've read books about the time, both fiction and non-fiction, and books about Hitler. The majority of what I've read is stories told from the perspective of the Jews. "Those Who Save Us" is written mostly from the perspective of the German 'victims' - those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and did whatever they had to do, even the unthinkable, to keep themselves and their children alive. Even though this story is a work of fiction, one can imagine the likelihood that it could very well have been truth. It always amazes me how inter-woven a time that seems so far in the past is with our present day world. "Those Who Save Us" is a must-read; a page turner; a book I had trouble putting down until I came to the end. I look forward to discovering more of Jenna Blum's work.
  • (2/5)
    I loved the cover of the book and the premise: the story of Nazi German told from a German perspective. However, the book was simply a disappointment. First, Trudy, as one of the main characters in the book, was so unlikable. Yes, she had all that hidden angst, all that hidden guilt, but in spite of that seemed so shallow and simply unbelievable. Granted her relationship with her mother was strained, but just leaving her at an unknown nursing home and thoughtlessly turning the family farm over to a real estate agent and then going on her merry way seemed really callous and not realistic.The story of Anna, her mother, during the war years was much more compelling, but that too seemed filled with unrealistic situations. The idea of a much older Jewish doctor having relations with a young German girl seems very far fetched. The German Nazi is so much of a stereotype. And, Anna's very twisted relationship with him is a strange blend of hate and infatuation. I agree with many of those that gave this book very negative reviews. The many explicit details of twisted sex seem very unnecessary. This is a case of too much, too often. Detailed sex scenes sometimes have a legitimate purpose; here they only seem embarrassing and cheap.The final chapters of the book also are filled with just too much coincidence. Trudy's sexual relationship with a Jewish man and the chances of meeting a man who knew of her mother many years ago seem contrived.Everyone in this book is either evil or "innocent". Even the church ladies in Minnesota come across as evil. Perhaps the early years of Anna being in their midst might be cause for suspicion, but after many years no one showing up after the funeral of Anna's husband seems to say "once evil; always evil." I wish I could say I liked this book, but must admit, it was a real disappointment.
  • (4/5)
    Suspenseful and mysterious, this was a story of a mother and a daughter, the mother having lived through WWII in Germany and was the lover of a viscous high ranking german soldier. Their different points of view make the story pulse, the mother is stoic and refuses to tell her story to anyone, even her American husband who rescues her and then abandons her mentally. In the end she still does not change her mind, even though she meets someone from the same hometown. I had a hard time liking the grownup Trudy, she had her own struggles and her mother never told her the truth about her father- but I still held back from liking her. A good book with lots to discuss.
  • (4/5)
    Jenna Blum carefully switches back and forth with her points of view to fully uncover a storyline to explain the life of Anna Schlemmer. Anna spent her youth and early adulthood in Germany at the time of WWII. During this time, Anna has fallen in love with a Jewish man (a problem as she is not Jewish), hidden him from the soldiers, and after he was taken away, given birth to their child. She struggles to survive during the rations, and at one point, delivered bread and messages to and from prisoners. Anna does numerous things that others may frown on only to care for her child during the harsh winter wartime.

    The other point of view came from Anna's daughter, present-day, who happens to be a history professor. She is currently working on a project to interview Germans who are not Jewish, to see what life was like in Germany during WWII times. Yes, the two storylines eventually connect - obviously.

    Overall, I found the story interesting enough - it took several different perspectives into account during the same time period which is different than others of this genre. It kept my interest, due to the back and forth viewpoints. I tended to connect more with the present day storyline, as I seemed to connect more with Trudy (the daughter) than with Anna.

    More of a 3.5, but I rounded up on this one. Worthwhile read.
  • (5/5)
    Great book! I loved how the book went back and forth from the current time of the daughter and mother and the time the mother spent in Germany. The book never had a slow moment and always kept me wanting to read more.
  • (5/5)
    One of my top ten favs. A love story that survives the war, secrets, and survival. This book is about a mother-daughter relationship and what secrets and shame can do to that relationship. Trudy finds an old photograph which is the only evidence she has of her past. This photo is the catalyst that brings about the exploration of this relationship. I love, love, love this book and have recommended it to numerous people.
  • (4/5)
    A well written novel that I really wasn't in the mood for. Would have put this down after the first 50 pages had it not been our current book club read. Maybe I've been WWII'ed out for now, but I found both sides of the story predictable.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best books I've ever read. This books grabs your attention with the first chapter and continues throughout the whole book. It explores so many human subjects from love, romance, families, loss, etc. Though this is fiction this could so easily have been a real life account of what a jewish woman had to endure during World War II. I would highly recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the best books I have read in ages. I couldn't put it down. Now having just finished it I am savoring it in my head and I want to cry and laugh at the same time. So much to think about!
  • (5/5)
    A wonderful and remarkable novel which I have included in my list of favourite books. I found the subject matter very harrowing in places and one particular character's recollections of Nazi Germany and it's treatment of the Jews ...well I found myself reading it over and over.Just dazzling...a true masterpiece.
  • (3/5)
    Good story. Interesting and thought-provoking. Good character development.
  • (4/5)
    Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany. Her daughter was only three when liberated by American soldiers and went to live in Minnesota. Trudy, the daughter, wonders about her mother's secrets. she decides to writes book about German's who survived WWII. A mother/daughter drama.
  • (1/5)
    I'm only about 50 pages into this book, and already I have mixed feelings about it--not because of the subject matter, but because of the writing. We'll see...

    ...So far the writing includes forced metaphors, awkward dialogue, and a preoccupation with bodily functions and related substances. Ahem.

    12/18: Hate to say it, but I'm looking forward to finishing this book so that I can move on to something better. As I believe other reviewers have noted, this seems to be a great idea for a book in the hands of a writer who's just not up to it. Sorry, Ms. Blum.

    It has improved, I'll give it that.

    Final review: Good topic, but this book is just awful. The character development is poor, the dialogue is weak. There's enough gratuitous sex--even without the scenes between Anna and the Nazi officer, which perhaps you could argue are necessary to the story--for a cheap romance novel. This is a sadly inelegant book that, given the subject matter, could have been a whole lot better.
  • (3/5)
    This is a compelling book about many things, primarily about the belief system regrading who we are and how that molds us. When confronted with a different reality, life changing events occur. Trudy's mother is dying and while they were never close, she must now make accommodations. Years ago her mother escaped Nazi Germany, fleeing with Trudy. Their means of escape was via a SS guard. Believing she is the child of that guard and hating her mother's choices, Trudy feels tremendous guilt. While I can guardedly recommend this book, I note the caveat that the ending was disappointing and not well developed.Later her mother was able to come with Trudy to Minnesota.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. Blum incorporates a side of the holocaust story we rarely hear - the perspective of the typical non-Jewish German. And the story weaves around the impact on the relationship between the mother who lived the nightmare and couldn't talk about it, and the daughter who really needed to know