Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We Are On Our Own by Miriam Katin

Lisa is Jewish six year old growing up in Hungary on the eve of WWII. Her mother Esther goes to great lengths to ensure their survival while Lisa's father fights in the Hungarian army. While much of this is told from Lisa's perspective, this story is really Esther's.

I find that I'm having a hard time summarizing this book. I think it's such a different perspective of the war and yet so encompassing of what people would go through to survive. Miriam Katin has done something very special with this. The character of Lisa is actually based off of Miriam Katin's own experiences during WWII, and she builds this memoir off of her own memories, the stories that she was told by her mother, and the letters shared between her mother and father. Esther was obviously a remarkable woman, which comes across so strongly through the illustrations. This is one of those times where you can't envision the book being told any other way and it having the intense impact that comes across through this book. I've read many different biographies and memoirs of WWII, and this one is definitely up the ranks with Maus by Art Spiegelman and Night by Elie Wiesel.

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