Sunday 7 February 2021

Bitter Herbs by Marga Minco

Bitter Herbs: The vivid memories of a fugitive Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied HollandBitter Herbs: The vivid memories of a fugitive Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Holland by Marga Minco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 128

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

The story of a Fugitive Jewish Girl in Nazi Occupied Holland

‘Whether I want to or not, I always return to 1940 – 45. Those were the years that made the most impression on me.’ Marga Minco

Marga Minco was a Jewish schoolgirl in the Holland of 1940 and survived the war in hiding. Her entire family were sent to concentration camps, none survived. Her entire body of work is informed by these facts and this short crisp semi-autobiographical novel was her debut. In it a naïve young Jewish girl escapes through a back door when her family is arrested and discovers that she has lost everyone close to her.

Written in a charmingly naïve, deceptively simple but profoundly moving style, Bitter Herbs, has been compared to Anne Frank's Diary and has become a Dutch classic

My Review

A very simplistic almost diary like account by a little girl living through the Nazi regime during world war two. When the Nazi's invade the Netherlands it isn't exactly covered by the telling of the young narrator. It is snapshots (diary like), no times, just observations as she goes about her day/routine. Whilst she never mentions the war/nazi's outright it is more what she sees, what she and her family are having to do. It is very clear to the reader what is happening and despite it being sedate the reader sees the darker implications than the innocent writing the tales.

An autobiographical that has been dubbed a classic and translated into more that ten languages. An almost sanitized telling of one little girl's survival with her being completely ignorant of what is truly happening and the horror around her. I think the fact it is so innocent actually makes it a bit more horrific, no specifics or graphic accounts are mentioned in detail but there is enough through an innocents eyes you get the pull of emotion, knowing what she is oblivious to.

A very easy to read and different approach to the horror of what people endured during this horrific time in history. For people who want to read about the time of the Nazi reign without graphic content but still captures what this family went through, 3.5/5.

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