I judged this book by the cover and bought it even though it didn’t sound like something I would instantly love. I know that sounds silly, but I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone a little with my reading. My one true love will always be young adult literature, but I can like other stuff too! (*said encouragingly to myself*)
I am so glad I bought Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. This book knocked me on my butt and still, days later, is staying with me the way few other books have. Those Who Save Us centers around Anna, a resident of Germany during the time of World War II, and her daughter, Trudy. The story starts in present day with Trudy and then flashes back to Anna’s time in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.
After the war, Anna marries an American soldier met during the liberation and she travels with Trudy to America, never again to talk about her time in Germany. She tells Trudy the past is the past and she will not revisit it. As Trudy grows up and eventually becomes a professor of Germany history at a nearby college, she is drawn to tell the stories of German residents who seemed to be so complacent and almost-accepting of the Nazi occupation. With the underlining need to understand her mother’s story because her mom won’t share hers, Trudy begins interviewing German immigrants who lived during the Nazi rein. In those stories she finds horror, truth, and eventually, her history.
This book broke my heart, but I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted so much for Anna and Trudy to talk, really talk, to each other. I needed them to be fixed. But as evident in Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum, sometimes shame and safety can only be answered with silence.